|Yes, Val Demings voted to make abortion legal effectively through all nine months of pregnancy.|
|‘Demings is now hiding behind a smokescreen, and PolitiFact is helping her do so’|
|**As NRO notes: Val Demings should be asked if she thinks late-term abortions should be allowed only when there is a serious physical health risk to the mother.**|
|PolitiFact Covers for Val Demings on Late-Term Abortion|
|Yes, the Florida congresswoman voted to make abortion legal effectively through all nine months of pregnancy.|
On Friday, PolitiFact published an article claiming it’s “mostly false” to say that Florida Democratic congresswoman Val Demings “supports abortion up until the moment of birth.”
But that claim — made by Demings’s Senate GOP campaign opponent Marco Rubio — is a fair one. Demings voted for a federal abortion bill — the “Women’s Health Protection Act” (WHPA) — that effectively creates a right to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy in all 50 states, as a National Review editorial explained:
[The WHPA] mandates legal abortion after viability until birth whenever a lone health-care provider — a term not limited to doctors — determines that the continuation of the pregnancy “would pose a risk” to the patient’s life or “health.” The WHPA’s chief sponsor in the Senate has acknowledged the legislation “doesn’t distinguish” between physical and mental health, and the text of the bill instructs the courts to “liberally construe” the provisions of the act. Courts would therefore look to the definition of “health” found in Roe’s companion case, Doe v. Bolton: “physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age. . . . All these factors may relate to health.”
There really can be no doubt that courts would interpret the definition of health in the WHPA to include mental health. According to the Guttmacher Institute, under Roe and Doe:even after fetal viability, states may not prohibit abortions “necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother”;“health” in this context includes both physical and mental health.A mental-health exception for post-viability abortions is a loophole that swallows up the rule. Joe Biden seemed to acknowledge as much when he was debating legislation to ban late-term abortion in 1997. Biden said he backed a measure to ban post-viability abortions unless the pregnancy would “risk grievous injury to [the woman’s] physical health.”
“This is not mental health. This is not a minor ailment,” Biden said. “This is grievous physical injury.”
When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he made the same argument that “mental distress” should not qualify as a reason for a “health” exception for late-term abortions:
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.
We know what happens when late-term abortion laws include (either implicitly or explicitly) a mental-health exception. The state of Maryland has an undefined post-viability health exception, and one abortionist has been caught on tape saying he would perform third-trimester abortions in the state if the viable pregnancy was causing the mother “anxiety and stress.”
Babies are sometimes viable as early as 21 to 22 weeks of pregnancy, and according to a 2013 study, most abortions between weeks 20 and 28 of pregnancy are not performed for “reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.” (Demings says she supports the WHPA’s provision that lets the health-care provider determine when viability is.)
All abortion laws include language to protect the physical life of the mother, and it is essential that they do so. (It is worth noting, however, that when medical emergencies arise very late in pregnancy, after a baby clearly is capable of surviving outside the womb, a C-section that can save the baby’s life can be performed in a matter of minutes, while a late-term abortion procedure takes days to prepare and perform.)
But the health exception in the WHPA is a loophole that would allow a nurse, midwife, or doctor to perform a post-viability abortion whenever that “health care provider” determines the viable pregnancy “poses a risk” to mental health. Demings is now hiding behind a smokescreen, and PolitiFact is helping her do so. The publication does not even grapple with the distinction between a physical-health exception and a mental-health exception — a distinction that Joe Biden and Barack Obama have discussed.
Val Demings should be asked if she thinks late-term abortions should be allowed only when there is a serious physical health risk to the mother. If the answer is yes, she should introduce legislation to that effect, and she should explain why she voted for a bill that allows a midwife to dismember a viable baby in the eighth month of pregnancy under a mental-health exception.
|Read the full piece here.|