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Jay Carney Dodges Question on Late-Term Abortions

8:52 AM, Jun 14, 2013 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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At the White House press briefing on Thursday, CNN's Jessica Yellin brought up Nancy Pelosi's refusal to explain the difference between the killings carried out by Dr. Kermit Gosnell and late-term abortion. "Does the President and this White House believe that this bill is an important bill?" Yellin asked. "Or does he agree with Minority Leader Pelosi?"

Jay Carney

White House press secretary Jay Carney didn't answer the question. "You know the President’s position on women’s health and on women’s right to choose," he replied. "And he has been absolutely clear about where he stands."

But, in fact, Obama hasn't taken a clear position on late-term abortions. In 2003, Obama said he was "pro-choice" on late-term abortions. He later fought the Born Alive Infants' Protection Act while serving as an Illinois state senator. “If these children are being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they’re looked after,” Obama said. Has Kermit Gosnell made President Obama reconsider the confidence of state senator Obama?

But during the 2008 campaign, Obama tacked to the right, telling a Christian magazine that he supported late-term abortion bans that contain a "strict" exception for the health of the mother.

"I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother," Obama said in 2008. "Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother."

Obama later modified his position, saying he also supported an exception for "serious clinical mental health diseases." Supreme Court reporter Jan Crawford noted at the time that Obama's position was still "startling" because the exceptions Obama claimed to support were narrower than the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Doe v. Bolton that there must be “emotional, psychological, familial, and ... age" exceptions to late-term abortion bans.

So the president's position on late-term abortion has been anything but clear.

Does Obama oppose the bill under consideration in the House that would ban most abortions during the final four months of pregnancy? If so, why? Can the president explain the logical moral difference between the Gosnell slayings and late-term abortions?

These are all questions President Obama and his aides have never answered.

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