Obama lies about his record on infanticide

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Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, when he is crowned in two weeks as the Democratic presidential nominee, will be distinguished as the first major party nominee to oppose restrictions on infanticide.

Before Obama came to the U. S. Senate, that body approved the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA), legislation that affirmed the personhood of any baby that managed to be born alive in the process of an abortion. Surely even a supporter of abortion rights would acknowledge that once a baby is alive and separate from its mother, the only rights that matter are the baby's rights.

You might call it the Gianna Jessen bill. Jessen survived an attempted saline abortion. Once she was born, no further attempts were made to kill her, and she received medical treatment (the attempted abortion left her with cerebral palsy and other medical problems) and ultimately was adopted. But not all abortion survivors receive the same respect. Babies who survive abortions are sometimes denied medical treatment and left to starve to death.

Jill Stanek was a labor and delivery nurse in an Illinois hospital when she discovered that unwanted babies who survived abortion were being left to die in the hospital's soiled utility room. When the hospital refused to correct the situation, she took it public and began advocating for state and federal laws to protect babies who survived abortion.

When BAIPA came before the U. S. Senate in 2002, before Obama came to that body, the bill passed 98-0. Not even the most ardent abortion advocates opposed the bill.

The Illinois version came through the legislature when Barack Obama was serving as a state senator and as chairman of the Illinois State Senate's Health and Human Services Committee. It never reached the floor, because Obama and his fellow Democrats killed it in his committee.

Obama has tried to explain his vote by saying that the bill considered in Illinois didn't have a key clause that was present in the federal BAIPA bill. But researchers have found records from Obama's committee that show the two bills were nearly identical, and in fact he voted to amend the bill to include that key clause, before voting to kill the bill entirely.

Jill Stanek has a summary of Obama's involvement in killing the Illinois bill.

New documents just obtained by NRLC, and linked below, prove that Senator [Barack] Obama has for the past four years blatantly misrepresented his actions on the [Illinois] Born-Alive Infants Protection bill.

Summary and comment by NRLC spokesman Douglas Johnson:

Newly obtained documents prove that in 2003, Barack Obama, as chairman of an IL state Senate committee, voted down a bill to protect live-born survivors of abortion - even after the panel had amended the bill to contain verbatim language, copied from a federal bill passed by Congress without objection in 2002, explicitly foreclosing any impact on abortion. Obama's legislative actions in 2003 - denying effective protection even to babies born alive during abortions - were contrary to the position taken on the same language by even the most liberal members of Congress. The bill Obama killed was virtually identical to the federal bill that even NARAL ultimately did not oppose....

Documents obtained by NRLC now demonstrate conclusively that Obama's entire defense is based on a brazen factual misrepresentation.

The documents prove that in March 2003, state Senator Obama, then the chairman of the IL state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, presided over a committee meeting in which the "neutrality clause" (copied verbatim from the federal bill) was added to the state BAIPA, with Obama voting in support of adding the revision. Yet, immediately afterwards, Obama led the committee Democrats in voting against the amended bill, and it was killed, 6-4.

The bill that Chairman Obama killed, as amended, was virtually identical to the federal law; the only remaining differences were on minor points of bill-drafting style.

Via Dawn Eden, who asks pro-life bloggers to call attention to the story, since the mainstream media probably won't. Ed Morrissey has more at Hot Air.

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18 Comments

Pamela said:

Remember that Obama called babies a punishment if somehow his daughter made a mistake. Maybe he should think about what he lets his daughters listen to. He is quoted saying that he lets his little girls listen to some pretty vile rap music that many adults would not entertain listening to. If she keeps listening to that madness she may end up with a punishment.

I guess you can tell I'm pretty disgusted with that reference.

Nik said:

From an Illinois lawyer that I pointed this out to:

"If I recall correctly, Illinois law already provided for the protection of infants in these procedures. This law would have added nothing. The difference between the federal law and state law is that the federal law makes it clear that nothing within it would effect Roe v. Wade whereas the proposed Illinois statute contained no such provision. The Illinois proposal was for all intents and purposes a meaningless bill - designed solely to end around Roe and everyone pretty much knew it.

Your ridiculously biased article notes that the bills were "virtually identical" which should immediately set off alarm bells. In this case they were identical except in the most important aspect, something that author knew and tried to hide by suggesting the bills were the same."

Nik, your lawyer friend is rehashing what had been Obama's line on this issue, which these newly unearthed legislative records undercut. Click the links in Jill Stanek's story, and you can see the language that was added to the Illinois bill by the unanimous vote of Obama's committee, followed shortly by a party-line vote to kill the bill. This is the language, identical in the Federal and Illinois legislation: "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being 'born alive' as defined in this section."

Paul Tay said:

YO MAMA. Vote Obama.

Wayne said:

Linked to your post from Jeremiah Films' McCain vs Obama on Right To Life

having problems with trackback.

Mark Author Profile Page said:

This story caught my eye as well. I did some poking around because Stanek’s blog post (incorporating an NRLC statement) was clearly presented and appeared to be well documented with several primary source links, etc. Nonetheless, I must conclude that this “new” information does nothing to clarify any of the ambiguity that has surrounded this issue from the beginning.

Stanek says, “we have found 2 separate documents proving Barack Obama has been misrepresenting facts.” I assume the documents she is referring to are (i) an undated text of an unnumbered amendment (“Neutrality Amendment”) to Senate Bill 1082; and (ii) a Senate Committee Action Report dated 3/12/03 which appears to record two votes on SB 1082.

Stanek and NRLC argue that the first vote recorded on the Committee Action Report (10-0 in favor) is a vote on the Neutrality Amendment. However, I can’t find a shred of evidence on either of those documents that links them. The only thing that might connect them is a third document – a Republican Staff Analysis. Yet it is odd that the Staff Analysis cites a date for Committee action that is different from the one written on the Committee Action Report itself. And it is even more troubling that the Staff Analysis references a “BA” (Be Adopted) Motion, whereas the Committee Action Report records a “DP” (Do Pass) motion.

What also undermines the credibility of this account is that it directly conflicts with Stanek’s own recent statement that Obama had “refused” to allow the Neutrality Amendment:
http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2008/01/top-10-reasons.html
It also appears to conflict with the official chronology on the Illinois Legislature’s website:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1082&GAID=3&DocTypeID=SB&LegId=3910&SessionID=3&GA=93

Taking a step back though, this “tempest in a teapot” seems to be an attempt to play “gotcha” with Obama’s claim that he would have supported the FEDERAL Born Alive legislation if he had been in the Senate in 2002. Some think that statement is inconsistent with his opposition to “nearly identical” legislation in Illinois (assuming, for the sake of argument, that the Neutrality Amendment was passed in Illinois). It is not.

The Born Alive legislation implicated very different concerns with respect to federal and state law. Medical practice in the U.S. is largely regulated by the individual states. This fact meant that the federal legislation (affecting only federal law) was largely symbolic, while similar legislation introduced in the states had very real consequences for the medical community and others. This would explain why the Illinois legislation was opposed by the Illinois Medical Society, among others, and failed 3 years in a row (i.e. Obama was far from alone in his opposition); while the federal legislation was essentially unopposed and passed unanimously. It is also just one reason why Obama is NOT a liar, even under Stanek’s most recent “history”.

And by the way, I’m an opponent of Roe v. Wade . . . .

W. said:

In addition to all the well-written rebuttals, I find it ironic, if not hypocritical, to see the usual "pro life" advocates also were advocates of an unnecessary war in Iraq that has killed hundreds of thousands.

When you again find two moral legs to stand on sometime in this century, let me know.

Who killed hundreds of thousands, W.? Iraq, U. S., and coalition troops or the terrorist groups we are defeating?

LMW Author Profile Page said:

Something to remember~
Source http://antiwar.com/casualties/
Casualties in Iraq
The Human Cost of Occupation
Military Casualties in Iraq
Date As of 8/13/08

American Deaths Official 4140

American Wounded** Official 30490
**estimated over 100000

Estimated Iraqi Casualties 1,252,595

Other Coalition Troops 314
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan 571
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan 345
Contractor Deaths 444
Sources: DoD, MNF, and iCasualties.org


As to your original post on Obama's legislative record in IL, Mark did the homework you should have done before spreading another distorted piece of propaganda. From following your work in Urban Tulsa, I would have expected some research before publishing.


As a matter of fact, I did look at the documents before I posted this, and the record on the Illinois legislature's website -- the bill history and the text of the original bill and the committee amendment -- confirms what I've written and fits with the handwritten record of the committee votes on the amendment and the amended bill.

The explanation that Obama would have voted for the Federal BAIPA because it was merely symbolic, but wouldn't have voted for the state BAIPA because it would actually have protected infants doesn't paint him in a very positive light, certainly not from a pro-life perspective.

LMW Author Profile Page said:

Since he is openly pro-choice, you will never see him in a positive light if this is the only issue you judge him on. So, my question to you is are you certain he lied?

Having reviewed the legislative record and compared the amended Illinois bill that Obama voted to kill and the Federal bill, and given that the assertion that claims substantive differences between the two remains on Obama's Factcheck website, quoting statements Obama made in the 2004 Senate campaign -- yes, Obama lied in 2004 about this issue and continues to perpetuate this lie.

LMW Author Profile Page said:

Thank you for the link...if I had found that earlier then I would have noticed that you were taking your cues from Alan Keyes and Bill Bennett and that would have explained alot.

I think you must not have followed the link, which leads to a page on the official Barack Obama website. The Obama campaign quotes a Chicago Tribune story from 2004: "[T]he difference between the state and federal versions, Obama explained, was that the state measure lacked the federal language clarifying that the act would not be used to undermine Roe vs. Wade." The Obama campaign still considers that explanation operative because it's still on their website, even though the Illinois legislative record shows that the key clause was added in the committee amendment (with Obama voting in favor) and was in the version that Obama and the other committee Democrats voted to kill.

Mark Author Profile Page said:

Michael,

I agree that none of this paints Obama in a positive light in the eyes of those for whom the pro-life agenda is the predominant issue for Presidential selection. These issues are deeply personal and deeply moral; and people of good will can disagree. So I offer no criticism of those for whom issues of fetal life are a litmus test for candidates. It is certainly rational for them to support McCain over Obama.

My comments were instead directed at those Christians who (like myself) judge candidates on a broad spectrum of issues that, I feel, better reflect the entire message and agenda of Jesus. For us, issues of honesty and credibility are just as important (or more so) as issues of fetal life. That is why I took issue with your unequivocal claim that Obama had “lied”.

We can agree to disagree on what the documentary record reveals. I can tell you though that there are way too many gaps and inconsistencies for the NRLC version to hold up in a court of law. So I lean toward Stanek’s previous position that Obama prevented the Neutrality Amendment. You may not like Obama, but do you really think he and his staff are that stupid? He knows what happened, and of course he would assume the public record bears that out. Why would he recklessly say something else? It makes no sense.

What also seems clear to me is that the Illinois “born alive” legislation was a bit of a political stunt, since Illinois already had (since 1984) extraordinary and robust medical protections for fetuses who were, or might possibly be, “born alive” in the course of an abortive procedure. 720 ILCS 510/6
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072005100K6.htm
Is it conceivable that a savvy state legislator like Obama saw this legislation for what it was – an unnecessary attempt to embarrass as many fellow legislators as possible – and did everything in his power as committee chair to shut it down? Of course. But that doesn’t make him a liar.

Final thought: There obviously were differences in the Federal and Illinois legislation because they met with very different outcomes in the legislative process. The Federal bill was unopposed (even by NARAL) and passed unanimously; the Illinois bill was opposed by medical and civil rights organizations, and was voted down three years in a row! It is incumbent on those who claim that the bills were “virtually identical” (and that Obama lied) to explain these wildly disparate outcomes.

My own view is that the Illinois bill was rejected because it did not contain a neutrality clause and it was viewed as completely unnecessary given the “born alive” protections already enshrined in Illinois law.

LMW Author Profile Page said:

Perhaps you choose not to read everything on the linked page since the first entry is a quote of Bennett on CNN and the Chicago Daily Herald article above the one you quoted says,
"Perhaps on no other issue is Keyes' rhetoric against Obama as harsh as on abortion. Keyes repeatedly accuses Obama of favoring 'infanticide' because of Obama's vote against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act."
So I stand by my comment above.

Well said Mark. You are addressing my concerns much better than I am able to.

LMW, you said I was "taking [my] cues from Alan Keyes and Bill Bennett." That's a classic example of an ad hominem argument. What Keyes and Bennett have to say about the situation doesn't matter one way or another. The legislative record is what it is. I hadn't read Keyes's and Bennett's comments until I saw them on Barack Obama's campaign website.

Mark, you say you find another interpretation of the legislative record more credible -- that "Obama prevented the Neutrality Amendment." So one of two things are true -- either Obama voted to add the Neutrality Amendment to the Illinois bill, then voted down a bill that had that language in it or he prevented the Neutrality Amendment from being added in the first place. Even if I grant your interpretation, it means that his claim -- that he would have voted for the Federal BAIPA, because it had the Neutrality Amendment language the Illinois BAIPA lacked -- an intentional deception. He had it in his power to vote for a bill with identical language, and he refused.

Issues of honesty and credibility are important, and this is just the latest example of Obama's misrepresentation of his own record on the issues.

As to Mark's question: "Do you really think he and his staff are that stupid?" I've been around politics a long time, and I've seen smart people do very stupid things, including spinning facts in a way that is misleading but politically advantageous. The public record may have ambiguities that make the spin plausible, and then they get caught when additional information surfaces that eliminates the very ambiguities that they were exploiting.

I understand that many people want to believe that Obama is a different, new kind of politician, and I'm sure it hurts to see that hope undermined by reality.

LMW Author Profile Page said:

Michael,

I had to look up the meaning ad hominem

1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2 : marked by an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

I did not enter my comments above to attack you. I am just simply a voter who is trying to figure out the details.

Apparantly, I am out of my league here intellectually and I'm sorry if you think I implied you were not giving your own opinion.

You state that what other people say is irrelevant to what you write but how is that so when Keyes started this in 2004? I, too, have been around politics and people (I am a generation older than you) and am more than familiar with the spinning of facts. I am a big girl and I can handle being (to paraphrase you) hurt by reality.

I just wonder if you can?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 12, 2008 12:45 PM.

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