Palin and Abortion: Health Risks

Douglas Burns points to a 2006 story from the Associated Press regarding Sarah Palin’s views on abortion:

The candidates were pressed on their stances on abortion and were even asked what they would do if their own daughters were raped and became pregnant.

Palin said she would support abortion only if the mother’s life was in danger. When it came to her daughter, she said, “I would choose life.”

The bit about rape is consistent with an account from Time:

Andrew Halcro, a noted Palin critic who ran against her as an independent in the governor’s race… recalls one debate in October 2006 in which, after repeated questions about her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest, she looked at the moderator with exasperation and asked if they were going to talk about anything besides abortion.

Previously I wrote that Palin “ardently opposes abortion… apparently even in cases of rape, incest, or health problems.”

I still have not seen anything that clarifies Palin’s views on abortion where health problems are concerned. Does she support legal abortion in any case regarding a health problem of the fetus? Presumably not, though I’ve not seen a clear statement on the matter.

She claims to support legal abortion “if the mother’s life was in danger” (a paraphrase, not a direct quote), but that hardly helps. Rarely is it the case that doctors know absolutely that, if they don’t remove and thereby kill the embryo or fetus, the woman certainly will die. Most cases are not so clear cut. An abortion may reduce health risks to the woman, though only some women in such cases would otherwise die. An abortion may also reduce physical harm to a woman who would not otherwise die. Where would Palin draw that line? Rational voters deserve an answer.