Editor's Note: Tune in to hear more about late-term abortion and the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/01/tiller.profile/art.tiller.kake.jpg caption="Dr. George Tiller was one of the few U.S. physicians who performed late-term abortions. "]
For the Iowa Independent
Dear Sen. Barack Obama,
You recently spoke with Cameron Strang, publisher of Relevant magazine. During that interview, Strang asked if you could clarify your position on “third-trimester and partial-birth abortion,” and you replied:
“…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. Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.”
Your response leads me to believe that you’ve either never had a one-on-one discussion with a woman who has had a late-term abortion, or that you’ve been too uncomfortable to ask such a woman difficult questions concerning not only the procedure but what led her to make that choice. Because a president needs to be given as much first-hand knowledge as possible as he develops policy, I’d like to help remedy this deficiency.
Thirteen years ago I had a late term abortion.
That’s the concise sentence I use when I don’t want to talk about what really happened. It takes all the emotion, all the family turmoil, all the medical terminology and all the grief, and packages it nice and neat. The listener is momentarily left speechless — long enough for me to walk away. Few follow as I retreat because only a select few really want to get beyond the politically charged debate that’s fueled by marketing consultant jargon such as “partial-birth abortion.”
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