A Question for Barack Obama

| 18 Comments

Why have you promised Planned Parenthood that the first piece of legislation you
will pass is the Freedom of Choice Act, a piece of abortion legislation which would
eliminate all of the common-sense parental notification laws across the country?
- Charmaine Yoest

18 Comments

This is a very strange promise, because Obama should know it has not a hope of passing. The democratic majority is slim, and the republicans will vote en mass against it. The only way to overcome that would be if the democrats gave it near-unaminous support - but there are more democrats who would vote no than republicans who would vote yes. There just isn't the political possibility of this law even making it as far as presidental signing. It's an empty promise.

It's like when Bush promised to ban same-sex marriage in the constitution - it was obvious the democrats would almost all vote against it, so there was no chance of getting a 2/3 majority. It was a proposed law intended to please the base, he can't have actually thought it would pass. He just had to promise to try in order to energise voters.

Obama is pulling the same stunt, from the other end of the spectrum - promise to pass a law he knows he can't pass, in order to gain the support of a voting block.

Sadly, I have to agree with Raven, the FoCA probably wouldn't pass.

Also sadly, this is one of those times when common sense isn't correct. Parental notification laws don't just cover teenagers who have loving and responsible parents. They also cover teenagers with abusive parents and absent parents. How is a teenaged girl supposed to inform her mother of her need for an abortion if she has no idea where her mother is?

Obama's promise of a FoCA might be a political tactic, but so are parental notification laws. They are a ploy to get girls to delay their abortions, making them more expensive, more invasive and less accessible, dressed up in a pretty picture--of a country full of steadfast, wise, and loving parents capable of controlling their disappointment and anger--that we cannot afford to believe in.

As you're aware, parental notification is the norm in society. The basic assumption is that the parent is not guilty of gross neglect unless proven otherwise. Only in the case of a juvenile killing an unborn child is there any controversy and an assumption that a parent should not be involved.

Unfortunately, we also have a track record of irresponsible parents harming their children when finding out about a pregnancy. And it isn't only a case of harm. Many of the girls who come to Pennsylvania courts to ask for a judicial bypass cite an older sister or other relative who was thrown out of the house at three in the morning. The teenagers aren't potential or disputed human lives.

Many of the young girls who show up in abortion clinics are driven there by their mothers. Most of those girls can trust their mothers. But the law must not further punish those who cannot. Assuming that all parents are good will only make things worse.

Us pro-choicers are highly suspicious of parential notification. It's not that we object much to the princible - it's more that we don't trust pro-lifers, and regard the parential notification laws as a justification to make abortion as expensive, slow, paperwork-filled and difficult a process as possible. And, as the above commenters point out, there is that major issue of bad parents which the bills fail to properly address. While most parents arn't going to be a problem, there will always be a few who are. The abusive ones, the extremally religious ones who would disown their daughter for having premarital sex, and so on.

The court review idea is so complicated, the girls have to hire a lawyer just to know it exists.

It should be noted that parential notification is a de facto requirement for parential consent: If a parent knows their daughter is seeking an abortion, it's a relatively simple measure for them to prevent it. All they need to is lock the daughter in their room for a time while they call on their pro-life family and church for some continuous supervision. Or, if that fails, send the daughter off to a religious camp for the remainder of the pregnency. Even the basic threats would work on all but the most rebellious of daughters: The classic 'If you have that abortion I'll throw you out on the street!' will convince most.

Suricou Raven, I think you are overlooking a major difference between Bush and Obama. Bush encouraged people to work for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage and promised them his support. There is every reason to believe he meant what he said, and would use his executive power to advance that cause, and sign whatever needed signing in the unlikely event the effort achieved success during his term. His record on other life issues bears that out. Anyway, He would lose nothing by signing such legislation, so there was no need for him to manipulate his supporters in the way you say Obama is manipulating his.

If Obama is faking support for FOCA, then he is doing something very different (and less honorable) than what Bush did regarding a marriage amendment.

The FOCA is disgraceful and for some of you to support is really sad. The proposal ends virtually all pro-life legislation. This includes common sense pro-life laws that the vast majority of Americans support. It can be in risk for the Partial birth abortion ban to be gone. It can also force taxpayers to fund abortion that Obama supports. This is bigger than parental nortification laws. Also, Raven's using false stereotypes against Pro-Life citizens is silly. First, abuse of young girls and criminal abuse is already illegal in America. Not to mention that the barbarous action of ripping a baby's body parts limb from limb is really just as much abuse as harming girls. Also, the religious camp nonesense Raven is a convinent excuse for you to ignore the dangerous health, physical, and psychological effects that abortion has caused women for decades. You ignore that. FOCA would make any restriction on abortion illegal.

The ban on so-called partial birth abortion should be gone. To ban any sort of medical procedure without exceptions for hte health of the patient and protections for doctors who act in good faith is unconscionable.

I never said Obama is faking support. I'm sure he would be happy to sign it, just as Bush would have signed the marriage ammendment if he had been able to. I'm sure Bush worked hard for it, and expect Obama to work on FOCA too. But still, both election promises share that one vital characteristic: The candidates knew that it would be very unlikely they would be able to fulfill the promise, no matter how hard they try.

So in both cases, although the candidates try to give the impression of a promise of 'I will pass this,' what they are really thinking is 'I'll try, but I know the opposing party will stop me.'

Timothy, I cannot address your comment because I can't understand it. Rewrite in more coherent form, and learn to use paragraphs.

I find it annoying that the debate is so polarised. All the moderates have given up now - the only factions that remain are the extreme pro-lifers (Ban all abortion, even if it means woman die needlessly) and the extreme pro-choicers (Abortion on demand, anything less is repressive). Neither of these represents a consensus or majority oppinion, it's just that only those with a fanatical dedication to one extreme or the other are able to effectively take part in the politics. Moderates are just people hated by both sides.

Raven, your comments are filled with conjecture. So, your words are hardly serious. Also, many doctors have proven that the health exception wasn't necessary in the partial birth abortion ban. The doctors outlined these views in Congress, because the PBA procedure was so grosteque among other reasons. The procedure can also damage women. Raven, my words aren't displayed inchorently at all. People have a right to devise words in a paragraph or not. My words are perfectly sound to comprehend. What's unconscionable is trying to justify an act where a baby's brains is sucked up under the guise of saving the life of the mothers.

Timothy, I think you are confusing Raven with me.

The idea that a health exception isn't necessary is just abominable, and no, they didn't prove it. It's one thing to suppose that the fetus is a person; that one can go either way. It's quite another to act like the woman isn't, and that is just what this law does.

I think we will have to agree to disagree on this issue. The problem with placing an health exception on PBA was proven conclusively. Here's examples. Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has also spoken strongly against the abortion method. "Partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary to protect a mother's health or her future fertility. On the contrary, this procedure can pose a significant threat to both." The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that there has been "zero peer-reviewed safety data" on partial-birth abortion, which the group describes as "a procedure involving overtly dangerous obstetrical techniques on a mid-trimester uterus over a period of two-to-three days." As Chabot explained, partial-birth abortions pose additional risks to women in addition to the normal list of physical, medical and emotions damages. Such risks include cervical incompetence, trauma to the uterus, and lacerations or hemorrhaging. Moreover, Ron Fitzsimmons, the director of a trade group of abortion businesses, admitted earlier in the partial-birth abortion debate that "I lied through my teeth" when saying abortions were needed for health reasons. It's not abominable to eliminate it. PBA isn't having a cold. Partial birth abortion is sucking the baby's brains out and using tools to retrieve the baby out of the womb. What's really abominable is the procedure itself. The law doesn't treat the woman as less than a person. It treats the woman and the unborn child as human beings simply. You need to realize that.

Partial birth abortion is pure barbarism and FOCA is barbarism since it can ban all pro-life laws period.

The surgeon general's comments were politically motivated. Also, consider that there is no medical procedure called "partial-birth abortion." There is intact dilation and extraction, but they're not precisely the same. The legal definition of PBA applies to both intact D&E and to other procedures, some of which are used early in the second trimester.

Politically motivation? There are other doctors who aren't in the pocket of any party that have expressed dissent with partial birth abortion. They include Dr. Nancy Romer, Ron Fitzsimmons (a pro-abortionist I might add), and Dr. Curtis Cook. Dr. Cook flat out said that the procedure is so abhorent that it isn't necessary to save the life of the mother at all. Not to mention on many occasion, the health of the mother have been exploited to include almost anything from a cold to a headache. There is a D and E procedure as you say. Regardless of that, there is no escape the horrible risk factors that partial birth abortion had done upon women (many of which I've already mentioned). Also, abortion isn't a holy procedure. It's the intentional destruction of human life by ripping a baby's body parts. Somehow, pro-abortionists don't want people to realize this.

Of course it was political. Look at it this way. Late-term intact D&E was already performed extremely rarely, usually in cases in which the pregnancy itself was already risky. Now doctors have to use non-intact extractions, in which the fetus is dismembered inside the woman's body. Not only is this just as damaging for the fetus, but it requires that medical instruments be inserted into the woman more times, putting her at more risk for different types of problems.

This law accomplished nothing except to make doctors, including some of those performing early-stage procedures that only superficially resemble the "brain sucking out" imagery that you're using, afraid to treat their patients. It is a boa-constrictor tactic to make abortion less accessible and more expensive and to make fewer doctors willing to perform it.

And, sad to say, the boa constrictor strategy works.

DRF, you are good at this!

Timothy, the medical need for a health exception isn't the only one - there was also a legal need. One of the main objectives of the ban was to pass an abortion restriction that *doesn't* have a health exception, and then have it survive a supreme court challenge - by passing a slightly restrictive and very popular law without an exception, it becomes far easier for less popular laws without a health exception to survive in court because there is a precident to cite arguing that no health exception was needed then.

DRF is also right in that the term 'partial birth abortion' was made up specifically for that law - it isn't a recognised medical term. As with so much in politics, words have power. By making up a sufficiently scarey term, popular support can be assured.

Made up is a bit strong of a term, but yes, giving a group of loosely related medical procedures one graphic name is an excellent example of political framing. If you ask me, there's too much of that in this issue.

But on the other hand, the need to navigate a heavily bureaucratic system could be seen as a direct side effect of having a complicated form of government, something that has served our country very well, for all its sluggishness.




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