Ramesh Ponnuru writes (in part):
Obama says that the Supreme Court has never interpreted Roe to mean that late-term abortions should be allowed just because the woman “feel[s] blue.” At best, he is being highly misleading. To review: Roe said that states could prohibit late-term abortions so long as they made an exception for the health of the mother. The Supreme Court handed down Doe v. Bolton on the same day as Roe. Both opinions were written by Justice Harry Blackmun, who said that they were “to be read together.” In Doe, Blackmun wrote that health should be viewed “in the light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient.”
As a result of Roe and Doe, abortion has been effectively legalized at any stage of pregnancy. The requirement of a broad health exception is the reason that the number of people prosecuted for committing late-term abortions has been vanishingly small since 1973, even though the vast majority of Americans believe such abortions should be illegal.
Obama engaged in a little spin even in the Relevant interview. In the Illinois state legislature he had refused to vote for, and spoken out against, a bill to protect infants who survived abortions. (At some points in the bill’s progress he voted “no,” at other points “present.”) His stand had caused some pro-lifers to label Obama the most pro-abortion candidate ever nominated by a major political party.
He said that the bill was “actually designed to overturn Roe v. Wade,” and was not “going to pass constitutional muster.” He has said on other occasions that he favored the federal version of the legislation because it included a stipulation that nothing in it would interfere with the right to kill a human being who had not yet been born. This claim is ridiculous. The born-alive bill was never going to “overturn Roe,” and the presence or absence of this interpretive clause was never going to make a bit of difference. (And if Obama was using the phrase “pass constitutional muster” to imply a prediction about the fate of the law in the courts, which is how the phrase is often used, then he was wrong.)