Since the Media Want to Talk Abortion...

Given the extreme media interest in the subject of abortion of late and the press's imaginary link between views of a Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin and Republican GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, it's worth considering the actual position of President Barack Obama on the issue.

Doing so shows who the real extremist on the subject of abortion is. The candidate whose positions are further removed from the majority of Americans is Barack Obama, something the media will almost certainly never tell voters.

As National Review's Rich Lowry notes:

From a neutral perspective, if one side of a debate is “extreme,” the opposite side is equally “extreme.” It would never even occur to the media to apply this standard to abortion. Barack Obama could favor denying legal protection to babies after they are born and the press wouldn’t bat an eyelash. In fact, he did.

In the Illinois legislature, he opposed the “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act” three times. The bill recognized babies born after attempted abortions as persons and required doctors to give them care. About a year after his final vote against the bill, Obama gave his famous 2004 Democratic Convention speech extolling post-partisan moderation.

But he couldn’t bring himself to protect infants brutalized and utterly alone in some medical facility. Some moderation. The federal version of the bill that he opposed in Illinois passed the U.S. Senate unanimously. Some post-partisanship.

President Obama is an extremist on abortion. He has never supported any meaningful restriction on it, and never will.

He opposed a partial-birth-abortion bill in Illinois, even as the federal version passed the House and the Senate easily and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003. He arrived in the U.S. Senate in time to denounce the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the ban.

Instead of obsessively asking Mitt Romney and every Republican imaginable about Todd Akin, the pro-Democrat media ought to ask Obama about his own words in the past complaining about how babies just wouldn't die in the abortion process.

"In fact, they're not just coming out limp and dead," Obama described a botched abortion, before then coming out in favor of allowing an abortionist to let a born alive infant die outside of his/her mother's womb.

Aside from asking about Obama's ghastly prior statement, the media need to clarify his position on abortion because it's actually quite unclear now:

[W]hen Obama ran for president in 2008, he said that he supported states' banning late-term abortions so long as the bans contained a "strict" exception for the physical health of the mother. Days later, Obama 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 edict in Doe v. Bolton that there must be “emotional, psychological, familial, and ... age" exceptions to late-term abortion bans.

Obama's 2008 endorsement of late-term abortion bans also appeared to be in conflict with his support for the Freedom of Choice Act. In 2007, Obama cosponsored the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would strike down restrictions on abortion at the state and federal level. The bill stated that all abortions must be legal before "viability" for any reason and that abortions must be legal until birth if a woman's health is at risk. FOCA does not contain a definition of "health," therefore "anything an abortionist says is related to 'health' is sufficient," according to Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee. "A state would not be able to adopt any limiting definition (for example, defining 'health' to exclude emotional distress), because that would be to narrow and infringe on the federally guaranteed right which FOCA would establish.  The entire purpose of FOCA is to prohibit any narrowing of the federally guaranteed right -- for example, by requiring parental notification, or by refusing to fund abortions."

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.

If the media don't ask Obama about these things, someone else needs to. Americans deserve to know the truth about their president's positions. He shouldn't be allowed to wink and nod on the issue of abortion the way he did on gay marriage--revealing his viewpoint only when it was convenient for him.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013