Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Katie Couric's Vice-Presidential Questions

Ugh. In my now more than 13 months of pulling for Sarah Palin, I've seen her do great interviews. I'm not sure what happened, but it's been painful to watch her in these Katie Couric interviews.

In any event, while Palin's answers to Katie Couric's Vice-Presidential Questions have been wanting to say the least, at least they appear to me to be factually accurate. Joe Biden's have contained important factual inaccuracies. Of course Katie Couric doesn't try to play "gotcha" with Biden, so most people won't realize this.

On abortion, Biden tries to sing the praises of what's commonly thought of as the trimester-based balancing test, specifically referring to "the first three months," "the second three months," and "the third three months" and various restrictions attaching to each.

This is the "first three months" myth, as described below:

In its new poll, the AP presented poll respondents with this highly misleading characterization of Roe v. Wade: "The 1973 Supreme Court ruling called Roe v. Wade made abortion in the first three months of pregnancy legal."

The real Roe decision legalized abortion for any reason up to "viability." "Viability" refers to the capacity of the baby to survive independently of the mother (with technological assistance), which is reached in the latter portion of the second trimester (about five and one-half months). Roughly ten percent of all reported abortions, or approximately 130,000 a year, occur AFTER the first three months. (The Court also required states to allow abortion for "health" reasons even AFTER "viability." The Court defined "health" to include "all factors -- physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age -- relevant to the well-being of the patient.")

The Supreme Court itself has emphatically repudiated the "first three months" misconception again and again. For example, in the 1992 Casey ruling, the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, and explicitly held that the abortion "right" applied with equal force at every point prior to "viability," adding, "We reject the trimester framework, which we do not consider to be part of the essential holding of Roe."

In the Supreme Court's most recent abortion ruling, in 2000, the Court even struck down a state ban on partial-birth abortion, which is a method used in the fifth month and later, as inconsistent with Roe v. Wade. At least 68 percent of the public favors a ban on partial-birth abortion.

Characterizing Roe as legalizing abortion "in the first three months" or "in the first trimester" was formally declared erroneous in the early 1980s by senior news executives of the Associated Press, The New York Times, and other major organs of the news media. A directive by Louis Boccardi, then executive editor of the Associated Press, dated September 4, 1981, said, "The [Roe v. Wade] decision is often misreported, even now. . . . For summary purposes, you can say the court legalized abortion in 1973. . . . Thus, it's wrong to say only that the court approved abortion in the first three months. It did that, but more."

So, Joe Biden is in favor of the conventional-wisdom-version of Roe v. Wade, but doesn't actually understand the real ruling. Where's Katie Couric with a smarmy follow up question of "what other Supreme Court decisions do you not actually understand, Senator Biden?"

Next we come to Church-State Separation.


The best way to look at it is look the every state where the wall's not built. Look at every country in the world where religion is able to impact ... the governance. Almost every one of those countries are in real turmoil.

The problem is not religion impacting governance. Our country's government was impacted by religion. Profoundly. Our primary founding document, the Declaration of Independence invokes our Creator as the source of our rights.

Britain's governance was profoundly impacted by religion during the abolitionist movement.

The US and UK: in real turmoil! News to me.

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