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Video: Obama Says He's 'Pro-Choice' on Third-Trimester Abortions

4:31 PM, Aug 22, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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In a direct challenge to the very broad definition of "health" in Doe v. Bolton, a number of states in recent years have banned abortions from being performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the time when an unborn child can feel pain. But, in contrast to his vocal opposition to state legislation such as Arizona's immigration law and Wisconsin's labor reforms, Obama has remained silent on these late-term bans.

When the House of Representatives voted on a late-term abortion ban for the nation's capital this summer, White House press secretary Jay Carney dodged the issue. "Well, I haven’t spoken to the president about this particular piece of legislation," Carney said at a White House press briefing on July 31, "but the president’s position on a woman’s reproductive freedom is well known." Almost one-month later, the White House has not indicated whether Obama supports or opposes banning abortion when an unborn child can feel pain.

According to Dr. Martin Haskell, the man who invented the partial-birth abortion procedure, most abortions after 5 months of pregnancy are "purely elective."

"I’ll be quite frank: most of my abortions are elective in that 20-24 week range," he said in a 1993 interview with American Medical News. "In my particular case, probably 20% are for genetic reasons. And the other 80% are purely elective."

Although Obama's views on late-term abortion are not entirely clear, he has remained a clear supporter of taxpayer-funding of abortion.

Though pro-choice Democrats deny that Obamacare funds abortions, it does in fact allow tax dollars to be used to purchase health care plans that cover elective abortions. Obama signed an executive order that purported to stop taxpayer-funding of abortion in Obamacare, but the order didn't even address Obamacare's main abortion-funding mechanism. "The executive order probably would not stand [in court] and even if it did stand, it only covered part of the abortion funding—the direct funding of abortion [at Community Health Centers], not the fees for [subsidized] health plans," pro-life Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois told me in 2010. The 2012 election will determine whether or not Obamacare, and hence its abortion-funding, actually takes effect.

Obama also supports direct taxpayer-funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients. Obama opposes the Hyde amendment, which bars federal funding of abortion through Medicaid except in cases when a pregnancy endangers a woman's life or is the result of rape or incest. "Obama does not support the Hyde amendment," read a questionnaire filled out by the Obama campaign in 2008. "He believes that the federal government should not use its dollars to intrude on a poor woman's decision whether to carry to term or to terminate her pregnancy and selectively withhold benefits because she seeks to exercise her right of reproductive choice in a manner the government disfavors." The Freedom of Choice Act would also mandate taxpayer-funding for elective abortions.

So Obama has plenty of vulnerabilities on social issues, but it remains to be seen whether they'll become a problem for him. For Obama's extremism to hurt him, the media would have to ask him questions about these issues. As Time's Mark Halperin said the other day, "the media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants." And what the Obama campaign wants right now is for the media to focus on issues that could hurt the Romney-Ryan campaign, not Obama.

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