Last week, Jay Carney ducked a question on President Obama's position on a bill banning elective abortions during the final four months of pregnancy. The White House issued a statement Monday saying that the president would veto the bill:
The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1797, which would unacceptably restrict women's health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman's right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor.
Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed a woman's constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose. This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' health care decisions, and the Constitution. The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women's health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make.
If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.
H.R. 1797 prohibits most abortions that take place later than 22 weeks into pregnancy (20 weeks after conception), the point at which some babies can survive long-term if born. The bill contains exceptions for when the pregnancy is the result of rape, incest, or when a physical health condition puts the life of the mother at risk.
Obama's veto threat does indicate what point in pregnancy or under which circumstances, if any, he would find a restriction on abortion acceptable.
The president has been all over the map on the issue of late-term abortions, perhaps because the politics of the issue are much more dangerous for a pro-choice politician. Gallup polling, for example, shows that only 14 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in the third trimester.