President Obama is following the murder trial of a Philadelphia abortionist, but the White House wouldn’t say Monday whether he’s drawn any conclusions from the gruesome testimony.
“The president is aware of this,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in response to a reporter’s question of whether Mr. Obama is paying attention to the trial of Kermit Gosnell.
But asked if Mr. Obama had reached any public policy lessons from the trial, Mr. Carney said, “The president does not and cannot take a position on an ongoing trial.”
Dr. Gosnell is on trial on murder and other charges in Philadelphia stemming from his 2010 arrest for conducting an alleged “house of horrors” abortion clinic in a poor inner-city Philadelphia neighborhood. Testimony has included reports of illegal “live” abortions of late-term fetuses whose spinal cords were severed after they were removed from the womb, and of a Virginia woman who died after receiving improper care. The amount of coverage the case is getting in the mainstream press has become a hot issue in recent days, with many pro-life groups saying the story has been badly underplayed.
Mr. Carney said the president’s position on abortion rights “is very clear” — that abortions should be safe, legal and rare.
As an Illinois state senator in 2003, Mr. Obama commented on an abortion debate by saying the issue “ultimately is about abortion and not live births.”
“Because if these children are being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they’re looked after,” Mr. Obama said at the time.
Mr. Carney didn’t comment on how Mr. Obama’s position back then might be affected by the Gosnell case.