McCain Makes Light of "Health of the Mother"

@anniepa (27236)
United States
October 15, 2008 10:57pm CST
During tonight's final Presidential Debate while discussing the always controversial topic of abortion, more specifically late term abortion at this particular moment, John McCain made the quote gesture with his fingers as he said, (and I'm paraphrasing since I don't have a link to post) "Health of the mother - that's something that's been stretched to mean just about anything. Health (again making finger quotes), that's the extremist position." Obama stated, as he has consistently throughout his campaign, that he'd like for both sides to work together with the goal of decreasing the number of abortions, but McCain wanted nothing of that. I respect anyone's right to their view on this very personal subject and I know there are many members here who are strongly anti-abortion, and I have no problem with that. I'm interested in knowing what everyone, regardless of where you stand on this issue, thought about McCain's belittling of the risk to women's health. To put it a slightly different way, regardless of what your personal view is, do you think he could have handled this a bit more sensitively or with more class? Annie
10 people like this
14 responses
@mcat19 (1358)
• United States
16 Oct 08
I know that being pro-choice, not pro-abortion, disqualifies me from having any standing on this issue. The health of the mother could be something that prevents her from having children in the future. I do think McCain was belittling of women. That's just the way anti-choice folks think. The fetus is more important than the woman.
6 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 08
mcat, you are absolutely entitled to your opinion regardless of what it is. I do think you have a little bit of a skewed view of what PRO-LIFE people think. I don't believe that the fetus is more important than the woman, and I don't think that the woman is more important than the fetus. I just have a big problem with deciding to murder a human because it is inconvenient. I feel the same way about murdering adults :)
5 people like this
@anniepa (27236)
• United States
16 Oct 08
Starry, it sounds like you're one of the few who calls themselves "pro-life" who really IS in the true sense of the word. Most anti-choicers ARE really only concerned about the fetus but care nothing about the mother or the BABY after it's born. Annie
4 people like this
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
16 Oct 08
I think it's a question of whether you understand his point. The word "health" is very non-specific. It's not the same as saying "LIFE" of the mother. He is absolutely correct when he says that's been stretched before. I totally understood what he meant by that and I hope that most independent voters got the point. I think most of Obama's supporters will just pretend that McCain doesn't care about protecting the "life" of the mother since "health" is a clever word used to stretch what such statutes cover.
5 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 08
Thank you Taskr, you said exactly what I was trying to say, only much more eloquently!
3 people like this
@anniepa (27236)
• United States
16 Oct 08
OMG, Taskr, what happened to your star? You weren't purple before, were you? I'm truly sorry and disagree with whoever did that to you even though we're on opposite sides of the aisle in the political interest. Now, to the topic at hand - to me it's not a question of understanding his point it was his very cold and casual way of making it. I respect his op;inion as I do anyone else's but, I'm sorry, he's a man and I don't think he should be able to tell any woman she must risk her life OR health because of what HE thinks. However, what really annoyed me and from what I'm seeing on TV at least a few others, including some male commentators was his lack of sensitivity and belittling manner towards women. Annie
2 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 08
wow, anniepa I totally didn't get the belittling women vibe from him at all. It is so interesting to hear how many different interpretations can be taken away from one particular debate. This is one of the very best things about Mylot, all the different opinions!
4 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 08
I really think that what he said is very true. That "health of the mother" tagline is what's always used by supporters of abortion. The problem is that this is very loosely applied very often. I know for myself, I am extremely anti abortion and with our last baby there were some complications and while it never came to actually having to make a decision to abort our baby, it was something that was discussed. Our doctor, who is clearly pro abortion urged us not to discount it. Well everything ended up fine, but I would not have aborted my baby. Just wouldn't happen. I guess maybe Senator McCain could have been a bit more diplomatic, but when he gets a little riled up he seems to get a little snarky.
5 people like this
@anniepa (27236)
• United States
16 Oct 08
Thanks for responding. As I said, I totally respect your point of view on this issue and although I'm strongly pro-choice I don't think I could ever have an abortion myself. However, since I no longer have to worry about ever getting pregnant and since I've never been raped or the victim of incest nor have I ever had a high-risk pregnancy where my health or that of my unborn baby were in danger I don't feel I have the right to judge any other woman who is in a situation I've never faced myself. I really don't think the government has or should have the right to tell a woman she has to risk her own life or health. I respect McCain's opinion as well but I really don't think he made any "friends" with his insensitive attitude tonight. He literally acted as though a pregnant woman's health was of no importance at all. Annie
2 people like this
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
16 Oct 08
I liked hearing your story. My best friend would have been the victim of a partial birth abortion if the doctor had had his way. His mother wasn't doing too well when going into labor but refused to abort him. At one point his father went to talk to the doctor away from his mother. He walked in on the doctor having a conversation with another doctor saying "10 bucks says they both die if she doesn't get rid of it". His father punched the doctor in the face and demanded someone else be sent to perform the delivery. Fortunately the doctor brought in to replace him did an excellent job with the delivery and my friend was born healthy and his mother came out of it just fine as well.
5 people like this
• United States
16 Oct 08
Taskr, you didn't say, but was your friend born prematurely?
3 people like this
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
16 Oct 08
He is a man what would he know about the health of the mother. He is one of those people who believe that the life of the child is so important that its ok to kill the mother as long as you save the child. It is a hard line patriarchal view of life that see the woman as expendable but the child, especially if male is far more important than a mere woman. McCain would deny this but it is at the core of all conservative patriarchal men that women are second class people. He probably thinks he did handle it sensitively, for him. They do not see it as referring to them or their wives or daughters but to the poor who they regard as being expendable any way.
5 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
16 Oct 08
That is stupid. The health of the mother that is referred to is if the mother feels that she might die, if the mother is depressed, then it is perfectly all right to have an abortion. Ectopic pregnancies are most often terminated because the mother would die if the tube split. The only other good reason would be cancer or if she is too small inside and then they can give her a caeserion but in many cases, the baby would not survie. So what other reasons are you talking about? Of course McCain would allow abortion if the mother was truly going to die if the baby would kill her, but those three above are the only reasons for an abortion, and they are allowed for medical reasons. In fact if a mother has cancer, the doctors do all they can to persuade her to have an abortion.
2 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
16 Oct 08
suspensful, the issue isn't with early term abortions, which is when an extopic pregnancy would be terminated for the very reasons that you stated. "The health of the mother that is referred to is if the mother feels that she might die, if the mother is depressed, then it is perfectly all right to have an abortion." This is the Pro-Life rhetoric. There are several medical issues that can arise that can affect the health of the mother. My niece, for example, had gestational diabetes and ocular hypertension and there was a point where she wasn't doing well at all. Ocular hypertenson can lead to permanent blindess. This was my niece's third child. I don't know what she and her husband would have decided to do had her condition not finally improved but I would have to say that losing your eyesight if you carry a pregnancy to term qualifies as a condition that speaks to the health of the mother. If I knew more about the permanent ramifications to her body by the diabetes I would comment on that but I'm not that imformed in that area. "Of course McCain would allow abortion if the mother was truly going to die if the baby would kill her," I'm not trying to be flip with you but do you believe that doctors would be calling the President of the United States for permission and that he would A)be avvailable to take the call, B)be able to approve an abortion that is now illegal? The president cannot circumvent the law and that is why the wording in the bill is so important. The health issue should be up to the woman and her doctor and, for the record, an OB who has been treating a pregnant woman for several months is not the same as a doctor who specializes in abortion so I would imagine that the decision to end a pregnancy for health of the mother reasons would be a difficult and well thought out one for the doctor as well.
3 people like this
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
16 Oct 08
Perhaps, as a Canadian I can view this discussion with an Open mind. As you are probably aware, Abortion is legal in Canada, and with the exception of our Prime Minister Steven Harper, most Canadians are happy with it. As far as McCain's stand on the issue, I can't see the point of dragging it out, because McCain is done. You Know it, and He knows it, and Most Americans will know it shortly. McCain gambled that his running mate would save him, but her stand on abortion is even more archaic. I think he should have picked a woman with more Class.
4 people like this
@Bd200789 (2994)
• United States
16 Oct 08
I couldn't believe he said that. The mother's health IS important, no matter what your feelings about abortion. Even most conservatives are willing to legalize it in cases where the mother's health is threatened.
4 people like this
@ladybug565 (2217)
• United States
16 Oct 08
no offense inteded but the man would have to have class in order to respond with class. Mccain is an idiot.
4 people like this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
16 Oct 08
Apparently McCain can foresee into the future of every woman in this country and, with this gift as well as his extensive medical education, he can say without a shadow of a doubt that there is/will never be a time when the health of the mother is truly in jeopardy. I found his comments to be insensative to the needs of women and a sign of how little he cares about real people vs his personal opinion on the issue of abortion. I believe that he is very narrow minded on that issue as well as many others.
4 people like this
@Opal26 (17690)
• United States
16 Oct 08
Hey annie, How could he have handled it any better. We all know how he feels about the issue and he isn't going to change his mind about it! His wording it the way he did didn't fool anyone except maybe himself being the the moron that he is! He is not concerned about the health of the mother, he is against abortion at any and all costs. So he could care less about the health of the mother because if that was the case then he would be thinking that in some cases if the mother's health was at risk to have the baby and they needed an abortion the what? Oh Oh ooops? I guess he never thought about that possibility because then that would go against his beliefs now wouldn't it!
@Hatley (164654)
• Garden Grove, California
17 Oct 08
anniepa McCain doesnt strike me as a very sensitive man at least not to people of lower classes than himself and his numerous house. he is t alking to a lot of people who havent enough funds to buy one house, and to women who have had health issues in regard to abortion. He could have been more sensitive but I think his years in the armed forces did away with that stuff.He does not have class,he is a typical rich man with a rich mans outlook on us p oor peons. He did not get my vote but Obama did. now that is my opinion and it will be respected or else.
@anniepa (27236)
• United States
21 Oct 08
As always, Hatley, your response it much appreciated. I sure respect your opinion, you can count on that, and anyone who doesn't respect it isn't worth the time of day - and THAT'S my opinion! Actually, I think you were pretty easy on McCain...lol...he's "not a very sensitive man" for sure! Annie
@mgeise (51)
• United States
17 Oct 08
I believe that there are pro-choice and anti-choice people in this country. There are not pro-choice and pro-life sides, as no one is "anti-life". No one wants to see an unborn fetus be killed, but this decision needs to be reserved for the mother. The "pro-life" group is never going to get legislation passed, as banning abortions will simply lead to women taking dangerous measures to get the procedure done. Abortion is treated as such an important issue in presidential elections, but I never see the policy of this nation on abortion changing significantly.
3 people like this
@Lee_Rites (845)
• United States
16 Oct 08
I am not a fan of McCain. Even so, I understood what he was saying and took no offense to it. I am sure he has heard this argument for abortion many times and just thinks it has been overplayed. I don't believe that most abortions have anything to do with the health of the woman and that was his only point. Regardless of whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, the health of the woman issue is a very small part of the issue.
3 people like this
• United States
17 Oct 08
yeah i felt the little "air quotes" were a bit insulting actually. like he was trying to make light of it or even considered it to be laughable/joke. now i agree that the term "health of the mother" probably could be stretched to say..getting stretch marks is unhealthy. i HOPE that wouldnt happen but it is quite possible. but like you, i surely think he could have made the same statement and not used the trite air quotes, and seemed much more compassionate and concerned about the subject. he could have said the exact same things that he did and NOT used the air quotes and his words would have been taken very differently.
2 people like this
@urbandekay (18312)
20 Oct 08
It is not making light of the health of the woman to criticise those who play upon the health caveat by pretending to suffer. This you may be assured does happen and I have heard testimony from women that do exactly that. Your criticism of him here is of that kind that seeks to silence valid criticism, a tyranny similar to that of political correctness. all the best urban
@anniepa (27236)
• United States
21 Oct 08
You, my criticism of him here doesn't seek to silence valid criticism at all. If he really wants to get more women to vote for him he'll have to show a lot more empathy for women and not indicate with his words and gestures that our health issues aren't worthy of his concern. Annie
@urbandekay (18312)
21 Oct 08
So, then you are saying that women will only vote for him if he refrains from criticising attitudes present in some women, that are odious? all the best urban
@urbandekay (18312)
21 Oct 08
Look what I mean is their are some women that will play upon the ill health caveat, pretending they are suffering emotionally or mentally, in order to qualify under medical grounds. I know this from testimony of such women. Now it is this behaviour that his words seem aimed at, which to me is valid criticism, don't you agree? all the best urban