September 19, 2008
Obama Keeps Distorting "Born Alive" Vote
by Amanda Carpenter, Townhall.com Columnist
Barack Obama’s campaign has a new advertisement up that accuses John McCain of “lying” about Obama’s opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, a bill to protect babies who survived abortion.
The only problems are that McCain never leveled the charge and the charge isn’t a lie.
According to the ad, John McCain lied about Obama’s stance on the bill. “John McCain attacks? The sleaziest ads ever, truly vile,” a female narrator says. “Now, votes taking out of context accusing Obama of letting infants die? It’s a despicable lie.”
McCain has never directly hit Obama on BAIPA, but an independent group called BornAliveTruth.org has. BornAliveTruth.org has been organized to educate the public on the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act and Obama’s record opposing it. Last month, pro-lifers unearthed evidence from the Illinois state archives that showed Obama had lied about his record on the bill.
SEE TOWNHALL’S PREVIOUS REPORT ABOUT OBAMA’S LIE.
Obama has repeatedly claimed he would have voted for Illinois’ version BAIPA had it included language to protect abortion rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, as the federal version of the bill did, which sailed through the U.S. Senate 98-0. Contrary to what Obama has said, old records from the Illinois Senate archives show Obama did vote against a BAIPA bill that included such a neutrality clause virtually identical to the federal bill.
“We have a smoking gun committee report,” said National Right to Life Committee Legislative Counsel Susan Muskett told Townhall last month.
Muskett’s “smoking gun” is a 2003 Health and Human Services Committee report recorded by Republican committee staff. It documents a unanimous 10-0 vote by the 2003 Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which Obama chaired at the time, to amend BAIPA to include the exact same language that was added to the federal version to protect Roe v. Wade. The committee report also shows a subsequent “final action” vote to determine if the bill should advance out of committee or be killed. The bill was defeated 6-4. Chairman Obama voted in the majority.
This means that, in essence, Obama voted to successfully amend the bill in a way that Obama has said would have enabled him to support it—before he voted against it. It also puts Obama further to the left of NARAL Pro-Choice America. According to a statement released by the abortion-rights lobby in the run-up to the U.S. Senate’s BAIPA vote in 2002, “NARAL does not oppose passage of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act … floor debate served to clarify the bill’s intent and assure us that it is not targeted at Roe v. Wade or a woman’s right to choose.”
For those who may doubt partisan records, the Republican committee report is backed by an Associated Press article that documented the 6-4 vote on the amended version of the bill.
“The Senate Health and Human Services Committee rejected a bill that declares any fetus with a beating heart or muscle movement outside the womb as ‘born alive,’” reporter Kristy Hessman’s AP story said. Her article was filed from Springfield, Ill., and dated the same day as the Republican committee report, removing any doubt she was reporting on any other measure. “The measure is in response to a rare abortion procedure in which labor is induced and the fetus sometimes survives, possibly for hours,” Hessman wrote. “The sponsor, Sen. Rick Winkel, R-Champaign, said the bill is modeled after a recent federal policy that defines a ‘born-alive’ infant. But critics said defining when a fetus is ‘alive’ could require doctors to provide care and might expose them to legal action if they don’t, even if there was no way the fetus could survive outside the womb. Winkel’s bill got four ‘yes’ votes and six ‘no’ votes.”
There is also audio available on the Internet of Obama explaining why he did not think the bill should pass. “Essentially, adding an additional doctor who has to be called into an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments designed simply to burden the original decision to induce labor and perform the abortion,” Obama said.
Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen is a member of BornAliveTruth.org. She put a scorching statement up on her website reacting to Obama’s attack on her group. “Mr. Obama is clearly blinded by political ambition given his attack on me this week,” she said. “All I asked of him was to do the right thing: support medical care and protection for babies who survive abortion – as I did 31 years ago. He voted against such protection and care four times even though the U.S. Senate voted 98-0 in favor of a bill identical to the one Obama opposed. In the words of his own false and misleading ad, his position is downright vile. Mr. Obama said at the recent Saddleback Forum that the question of when babies should get human rights was above his pay grade. Such vacillation and cowardice in public policy almost left me to die and no one should have to go through what I went through.”
Pro-life activist and former nurse Jill Stanek, who testified before Obama in the Illinois State Legislature after she rocked an aborted baby to his death in a soiled utility room, is also active in the group.
She released a statement of her own on the website.
"It is despicable, repulsive and beneath contempt that Barack Obama would attack Gianna Jessen,” Stanek said. “She is a courageous abortion survivor and living miracle who would not be with us today if Obama's policies had been in place when she was born. Mr. Obama continues to mislead the American people on this issue, he voted four times against medical care and protection for babies who survive abortions in the Illinois State Senate, while the U.S. Senate was voting 98-0 to pass an identical bill. Mr. Obama needs to come forward and tell the American people that he understands people like Gianna Jessen, and that he will support and enforce Born Alive Infant protections -- that these are living, breathing human beings who have come into our world and deserve protection in the law and should receive medical care at health care facilities. These babies have the same rights as the rest of us."
Amanda Carpenter is National Political Reporter for Townhall.com.