Obama & frequency of “mental health” as partial birth procedures’ justification

I’ve been following the conversations about Barack Obama’s statements regarding late term abortion and mental health exceptions at the following blogs among others:

Mahablog (where I was banned – you can read the thread, and read her comment policy and decide for yourself)



And I wrote about it here, here and here.

I stand by my assertions that degrading the seriousness with which the concept of “mental health” is regarded is a matter of the great importance to me (though it is not a one-issue issue for me – no issue is or else who could I vote for?).  So Obama’s explanations (original and clarification) are less than okay to me.  And, for comparison’s sake, he’s shown care in discussing race and patriotism. So why not the same when responding to a question about abortion and citing the loaded phrase, “mental distress”? I will never get that, beyond the expediency, given that he was speaking with a Christian magazine.  It was too brief and obvious a target that didn’t have to be.

But regardless of my dissatisfaction from the mental health angle, from the abortion angle, I’d like to offer this information from a pdf I linked to last year (a post which, just to demonstrate my consistent focus on the mental health piece far more than the abortion piece, was titled, “Anti-abortion advocate degrades & demeans mental health issues in pregnant women”).

The pdf is a collection of statistics from Kansas, the only state that was collecting data about partial birth procedures. It shows that in 1999, 182 partial birth procedures were reported to have been performed in KS and that in all those instances, the physicians indicated that the major bodily function that would have been impaired if the procedure was’t performed was mental, not physical.

How many is 182?  Out of all abortions?  Well, the numbers aren’t really there to know for sure, but here are some numbers for perspective:

The best estimate [of how many partial birth procedures are performed annually] appears to be by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute in New York, which researches reproductive health issues. In 2000, the last time it studied the question, the institute estimated there were 1.31 million abortions performed in the United States each year. Of that total, about 2,200, or 0.17 percent, were by “intact dilation and extraction,” which is the medical term for the same procedure [partial birth procedure].

To be willing to throw the definition of mental illness or disease under the bus, or at least make it murkier than it already is, in order to side against reproductive rights on an extremely rarely performed procedure and maybe gain a few conservative votes is the kind of thing makes the phrase, “It will come back to haunt us” play over and over.

9 thoughts on “Obama & frequency of “mental health” as partial birth procedures’ justification

  1. Joe – you may not leave that comment on every single post I write about Obama or the presidential race. I will delete it the next time it shows up. Start your own blog if that’s what you want to tell people. Enough of it here already. Thank you.

  2. I can’t believe Barack delivered his statement in the manner he did. The sleep deprivation must be setting in.

    Usually so eloquent…even if lacking substance.

  3. Thanks very much for that comment, Oengus! You are very right re: the anonymity. If it’s consistently used and the same voice etc., yes – it’s more or less trustworthy, plus I’ve emailed you offlist so…;)

    And that’s FINE for folks to agree with her – I really wasn’t horribly DIS-agreeing with her. I was just pressing the point about the mental health references and she absolutely did not want to discuss the possible ramifications of weakening the concept of mental health in one context on all other, or any other context. That’s all I was trying to say and that was it – she would have none of it. It’s unfortunate. But – like this is my blog, that’s hers. I still find it pretty unnecessary and kind of arbitrary, but, blogs can be arbitrary, if nothing else.

    Thanks – I’ve not read her much before and I can’t say I expect to be reading her blog on my own unless others draw my attention to it. It’s not a very welcoming locale, IMO.

  4. Who banned you Barbara ever bodies an idiot but me O’Brien, she was not comprehending your very comprehendible content.

    Shes good at addressing idiots or half baked comments, perhaps she was unaccustomed to intelligence, did not know how to respond to it. “Its my blog, so I must be the expert” not this time hahaha.

    Spot on you are.

    She accused people of not reading the content , then called you an amateur before she checked you out. What’s up with that?

    As for the need of a valid email and name? How about just being the same screen name always, its the consistency and sincerity that counts.

    As for Barbara O’Brien banning you over that thread, speaks to where her head is, you added to her content. You are smarter than that, you have used me many times to pull out more and that is wiser than slamming the door.

    Good stuff, people need to realize how much time and energy it takes to get to the point of full comprehension or a command of a topic. And FYI it burn calories too, thinking hard does.

    is she a stressed out buddhist?

    I actually agree with everyhting Barbara commented on, with the exception of her heavy hand. Well the absoultist comment was out there, as well, most of what she writes is good.

  5. Kelly – thanks very much for your comment and the links. I’ve heard of that blog but haven’t spent much time there. I will definitely take a look.

    I’ll also add it to my blog roll.

    Thanks again for reading and commenting.

  6. Thanks Loraine – what bothers me about her policy is that it’s pretty clear that if you disagree with her, you can safely assume you run a good risk of being banned. That’s really opposite of what I shoot for. And I completely agree re: the name yourself rule. Absolutely. If you’re going to shoot off your ideas, put your name to them, esp. if they are threatening or otherwise just mean-spirited. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Thanks for the information on the mental healthand partial birth procedure problem. That’s very iteresting that Obama thinks that.

    We recently wrote an article on at Brain Blogger. Mental health is something too easily overlooked when it comes to prisons. However, mental health has a link with reoffending criminals. So should more be done?

    We would like to read your comments on our article. Thank you.


  8. Jill said:
    “Mahablog (where I was banned – you can read the thread, and read her comment policy and decide for yourself”

    Well at least she just banned you from the Kingdom of Mahablog and didn’t send you to the executioners block…..being a rank ( not the smelly kind I hope) of amateur at this blogging it is good to know that although some comment policies say one thing it apparently doesn’t count if you tick off the QB ( or indeed one of their cronies) …. I know this is not about the issue at hand, sorry….. but having recently having to decide on what I will and won’t allow on my blog I found it interesting…. MY policy ..say what you like insult , chastize , even swear but you have to do it under your own name with a checkable e-mail… I found I haven’t time to deal with those who leave comments who don’t have a birth certificate……you would be surprised at how much time and effort I have saved myself.
    Now I will read the issue Loraine

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