Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama Lies about Voting Against Bill Outlawing Infanticide while in the Illinois Senate

I prefer to stick to issues and don't like to bash politicians on this blog, but Obama has pushed me to my limit. When confronted about his vote against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, Obama stated that he voted against the bill because it was significantly different than the Federal Bill and undermined Roe vs. Wade. You can see his response on youtube. He further went on to call call the National Right to Life Committte who had claimed that he misrepresented his vote "liars."

It's one thing for Obama to misrepresent how he voted in the Illinois senate. It's another thing to call people exposing his misrepresentations liars and to further refuse to apologize for it or take them up on their offer of claiming that their evidence are forgeries. Personally, I think Obama is counting on not enough people hearing about this evidence and taking his bluff at face value instead of researching the facts. The honorable thing would be to admit that he was wrong and made a mistake. One of the biggest Democrat complaints about Bush is that he can't admit a mistake, and this is who they nominate? This is practically unbelievable. Surely, there was somebody better out there than Obama... I refuse to believe that this is the best they've got.

Anyway, if you want proof that Obama is lying, here it is.

Here is the text of the Illinois bill before the amendment.

Here is the text of the amendment that Obama voted for. This amendment makes this bill practically identical to the federal bill, unless you think a comma is huge difference.

Here is the text of the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

Here is a side by side comparison of the Federal and Illinois bills highlighting the wording differences (all of which I think we can agree are minor).

Here is a copy of the voting record for Obama showing that he voted against the bill as amended. He didn't just vote present, he voted, "NO."

Here is a timeline with lots of links to the various lies Obama has told regarding this issue.

So, does anybody think the son of a b@#$ will every admit that he voted against a bill that is practically identical to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, that he voted against outlawing infanticide for survivors of abortion? To this date, Obama hasn't admitted his factual errors nor apologized to the NRLC for calling them liars. In fact, he is still spouting off the same spineless bulls*%!. If you don't think Obama will ever admit his error, do you he will get away with this deceit or that most people will become informed about it?

I'm sorry if I come off a bit hot about this point. This is probably the most spineless, dirty thing I've seen a candidate do this election cycle, and it happened to touch on an issue I care a lot about.

Easing out... if making even a general comment about on when human life begins is above a constitutional lawyer's pay grade, how will that person ever be able to decide on what constitutes torture of enemy combatants?

To end this, there are a lot of links here, if anybody finds that one is broken, please, comment about it and they will be fixed. Honestly, I doubt the Obama campaign link will last long, but we'll see.


Kevin said...

This issue confuses me, so I appreciate your looking into it and providing the links. Actually, and maybe it's just me, but there seems to be a general sort of cognitive dissonance to Obama or his statements on various topics which often puzzles me.

But there are still a couple of points that I don't quite understand:

(1) Given that the federal law and the IL SB1082 are equivalent in text, is there significance to their being federal vs. state? The Obama factcheck page that you linked seems to suggest that the federal version was irrelevant, both because it was merely a restatement of existing federal law and because federal law cannot affect the practice of abortion, only state law can (which sounds a bit strange). Any idea if this is true?

(2) Given the claim that IL law already protected a fetus with "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival", what was the effect (or intent) of the new laws? Did it remove that "reasonable likelihood of sustained survival" condition, requiring medical care regardless?

I'm also perplexed by the IL statute summarized on the Obama factcheck page which states that if there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb, a physician must "utilize that method of abortion which, of those he knows to be available, is in his medical judgment most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus."

What the heck is an "abortion" that is intended to preserve the life of the fetus? Is it, for example, induced labor?


MamasBoy said...


The idea that only states can regulate abortion practice is only true on a case by case basis. For state regulation to be the law, the US Congress and the Supreme Court must put the ball back in the states hands by ignoring the matter or ruling the matter outside their jurisdiction. To make such a blanket statement or to make such a statement about the FBAIPA is certainly false.

Clearly, the Federal government can and has regulated certain aspects of abortion, such as when they passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. While there can be considerable time between when acts of law are passed and when they are enforced due to challenges in the court system and judicial stays on a law's enforcement, if they are upheld and get out of the court system, they are certainly enforceable. To say that "Federal law does not regulate abortion practice. That is left to the states." is just another lie.

Also, it was not merely a restating of other Federal law. states that "When the bill became law, it was the first time that the personhood of a "born- alive" member of the human race was codified in federal legislation."

If it was merely a restating of other Federal laws, then you would think that Obama might have named which laws which he was referring to. It helps to back up one's assertions with evidence, especially when one is making bold claims that are contradicted by numerous sources.

Honestly, my opinion of the Obama justification for voting against 1082 is that his primary intent is obfuscation. For instance, the website says of SB 1082 and 1083 that "Although the definition is similar to the proposed federal legislation, its application would have a different impact on state abortion law."

A) why address 1082 and 1083 together? Why not discuss their merits seperately? 1082 is by itself practically identical to the Federal law. There is no reason to treat the two laws as one when they are separate. 1083 referred to civil liability and set up a trust fund for neonatal care of those who survive the abortion procedure. 1082 could have passed by itself without addressing the specific issues raised by 1083, which is why they are two bills and not one.

B) If a bill that is exactly the same as the federal bill would have a different effect on state abortion law, then what would an acceptable bill look like? If the wording is exactly the same, why isn't the effect the same? This reason itself is a contradiction of claims Obama has made that he would have voted for a bill if it was the same as the federal bill passed in 2002. The fact is, while the 2002 federal act was caught up in the court system, in 2003 Obama was presented with an identical bill and he voted against it. He can't have it both ways. Either he would have supported a bill that was identical to the federal law or he wouldn't have.

It is telling that Obama never states the specific ways in which application of the identical state law would be different than the federal law. He simply states that the application of the law would be different and thinks people will forget that he has stated that he would have supported a bill with the same types of clauses as the federal law.

2) Neither the Federal, nor the Illinois BAIPA specify what care must be provided. It simply defines what constitutes a live birth and says no matter how an infant is born, the application of existing laws is the same. The Illinois law would only require care for those surviving induced abortion if IL law required care for babies born via other means. It was left to SB1083 to ensure that medical care was provided. "Therefore, it is the intent of the General Assembly to protect a child who is born alive as the result of an induced labor abortion or any other abortion and to ensure that the child receives all medical care necessary to preserve and protect the life, health, and safety of the child." This was not a part of 1082 which Obama voted against.

Regarding whether there is a "reasonable likelihood of sustained survival", honestly, it would be very rare for an infant born this premature to survive, since induced labor abortions are commonly performed at around 22 weeks gestation. It is unusual, though not unheard of, for preemies to survive at that age. I'm not sure how this law would apply, since I'm unsure about the legal/medical definition of "reasonable likelihood of sustained survival"

If this is truly Obama's objection, though, then it has nothing to do with 1082 which he voted against and everything to do with 1083. If somehow it is related to 1082, then he never should have said that he would have voted for an Illinois law that was like the Federal law.

Below is a clip of an interview with Jill Staneck. She was a nurse at a hospital in the Chicago area that performed these types of abortions where the fetus is delivered and then allowed to die by suffocation, since their lungs aren't fully developed and they are not given oxygen or anything that a typical preemie baby would be given.

"I'm also perplexed by the IL statute summarized on the Obama factcheck page which states that if there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb, a physician must "utilize that method of abortion which, of those he knows to be available, is in his medical judgment most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus.""

I'm just as puzzled by this as you. I guess the induced labor type of abortion would be required, since no measures are taken to poison or butcher the fetus in utero and it is simply allowed to die of natural causes through induced premature labor. However, that particular procedure isn't performed on near full term fetuses. Honestly, I have a tough time believing this is actually a law. It runs completely counter to the idea of an abortion. Nobody does induced labor abortions on near full term fetuses, for the very reason that they would survive potentially for days on end and that it defeats the purpose of abortion. Abortionists used to go so far as to deliver all but the head of viable fetuses before killing them so that it couldn't be considered a live birth. However, congress outlawed that procedure with the partial birth abortion ban. I find that paragraph more than a bit odd.

As usual, Kevin, you ask some very interesting questions. I hope I didn't muddy the waters further by going to far afield. Honestly, I'm having a tough time keeping on task because the reasoning of Obama is so contradictory, ambiguous and often unrelated to the direct assertions being made by the NRLC regarding his voting against SB1082, an identical bill to the Federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act. He seems to take his arguments down a million rabbit trails. Combined with their lack of logic, it is hard for me to keep them straight and address them all without my own writing ending up all muddled.


Kevin said...


Thanks for your response. It is still muddy, as you note, but you have helped clear things up for me. I think you are right that Obama's excuses ring hollow.

I wish the (at least intended) practical effects of the laws were clearer, and that Obama would make more sense but I think he might actually benefit from the mentally fatiguing ambiguity and contradictions.


MamasBoy said...

"but I think he might actually benefit from the mentally fatiguing ambiguity and contradictions."

I truly hope you are wrong. To take such an approach betrays not just a lack of ethics, but a terribly cynical view of American voters/news media. I really hope the word gets spread about this, so that he doesn't get away with it.


Kevin said...

I doubt Obama would cynically craft contradictions as such. He seems sincere.

I think he's perceptive of people's concerns, capable in articulating them, and probably just wants to please everybody, which leads him into complex contradictions. He might genuinely not even see the contradictions since they wouldn't actually need to be resolved until a concrete decision had to be made.

And resolving the contradictions would alienate people. Maintaining them leads people to focus on the parts that make sense to them. Of course, all politicians strive for maximum appeal, so I don't think this dynamic is limited to Obama. He's just good at it.


MamasBoy said...

"I doubt Obama would cynically craft contradictions as such. He seems sincere."

I would give him the benefit of the doubt, if he hadn't specifically stated that a) He would have supported the Federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act and then b) Voted against a bill that was the same.

I don't see how he could be sincere and make such a basic mistake. Even the Annenberg foundation's said he was in error, and the article was obviously written by a liberal, given the unflattering terms used for pro-life people at several points. Doesn't Obama's campaign have anybody who reads that website and makes sure lies don't continue to be propogated?


MarkC said...


I'm finally catching up with this issue. Thanks for all the information you provided.

There's a useful table at the bottom of Obama's FactCheck page, listing the various Illinois bills through the years, highlighting particular clauses that Obama objected to, and then the final bill with all the clauses that Obama says he would have accepted had he been in the Illinois Senate at the time.

Two things stand out to me.

First, I'd like someone to explain to me how this clause is a "clearly threating Roe":

"A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under
the law."

What does that have to do with Roe v. Wade? From earlier on the page, here is Obama's explanation, as it is:

"Whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements of the Constitution, we’re saying they are persons entitled to the kinds of protections provided to a child, a 9-month-old child delivered to term... That determination then essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place."

Huh? Why, exactly? I don't get his argument here.

Second, there is only one of the four Illinois bills that Obama says he would have supported. That bill has two extra clauses, one specifically saying that abortion law isn't affected, the other saying that "generally accepted medical practice" isn't affected. The federal law, it appears to me, has neither of those clauses. Why, then, would Obama have supported it? I can't see any explanation of the discrepancy.

The primary realization I take away from this little study is this:

Obama supports abortion. He supports it strongly, vehemently, adamantly. There will be no fudging or compromise on abortion with Obama. He has shown that he will fight against any statute (I'm thinking primarily of the 2003 version that he voted against but which is identical to the federal version) that even has the slightest chance of diminishing the freedom of abortion on demand. Abortion, it appears, at any time, under any circumstances, is sacred to Obama, and he will defend it with all the power available to him.

Frankly, that scares me.


Wombs said...

I am just catching up with this issues and I completely agree with Mark's following remark:
"Abortion, it appears, at any time, under any circumstances, is sacred to Obama, and he will defend it with all the power available to him."

However, it doesn't "scare me." It makes me glad to vote for Obama, because as usual all we have here are 3 men talking about conception and carrying a fetus to term, something they themselves have no power to actually ever in their life experience, but want control over anyway.

Whether granted by a creator or the crazy result of a detached and chaotic Nature, the power to conceive and bear life within a womb belongs entirely to women, and not even all women, only those women who actually conceive. Therefore it is my position that lawmakers should stand aside and let those with the individual power to conceive make their own individual decisions about how to handle their own individual conceptions.

The days when men consider they are the arbiters of women's lives are grinding to an end. It has taken an awfully long time to wrest the power & control of women out of the hands of men. And that some women agree with them is irrelvant. Let those who believe abortion is wrong, not have one.

MarkC said...

If I'm not mistaken, male involvement is generally necessary for conception. :)

In more seriousness, your response ignores two aspects of the situation that are important. One is recognized under current law (though not given much weight). The other is not currently recognized under the law.

First, the fetus growing inside the mother is a "potential life". This is recognized under the current state of the law, and it is also recognized that society has a valid interest in preserving that potential life. Though for a time it is living inside the mother's womb (and that is a burden on the mother that should not be taken lightly), it is not part of the mother. At the very least, it will imminently become a separate life, and society has a valid interest in preserving that life. To what degree society's interest should balance against the mother's interest is an issue of great debate... but is a valid question, and an important part of the discussion.

Second, many people believe that, at some point before birth, that "potential life" becomes an actual life, an individualized human which should be granted basic human rights. In that case, it would become an issue of the right of one person to live balanced against the right of another person to not have to loan her body to sustain that other life. This balance can also be tricky to navigate... but for those of us who believe that at some point before birth the baby becomes truly human, the issue is a very real one.

The questions are significant and difficult... but I don't think it ultimately comes down to men trying to be arbiters over women's lives. To view it in such simplistic terms is to ignore the reality of the separate life (or potential life) of the child altogether.


MamasBoy said...


I'm sorry that all you see are several guys talking about controlling a woman's body.

I am outspokenly pro-life today because of the example of a good friend who had an abortion. She had been lied to and told the fetus she was carrying was a blob of tissue. When she later got married and became pregnant again and listened to the heartbeat at the same stage as when she had aborted, it tore her heart out to realize what she had done. Her description of her experience is for me a living reminder of why abortion is evil and why women deserve so much better than abortion. Behind the pseudonyms and screen names are real people with real relationships and profound experiences with abortion. I would encourage you to look beyond the surface the next time you stop by.


steviepinhead said...

I haven't studied this whole thread or the related documents, and am not getting into the pro- or con-Obama arguments.

But just to address Mark C's point on how giving any "fetus born alive" full personhood rights could "threaten" Roe:

There is a difference between "born living" and viable. Occasionally babies (let's call them, once they are "born," whether as the result of abortion or any other process) are born alive during the first trimester (when Roe gives the mother's right to decide priority over state laws protecting the infant), but do not have sufficient lung development to survive.

So, it's alive, but it's not going to survive. If state laws conferring various "rights" upon this infant as if it were a second or third trimester (or full term) baby are upheld over the mother's rights, then it's arguable that Roe would be undercut.

MamasBoy said...


The abortion procedure in question is not used during the first trimester. During the first trimester, MTX, RU486 and Suction Dilation are commonly used. Based on this, I don't think BAIPA could be considered a threat to Roe under the first trimester rule you laid out.


MarkC said...


Are you suggesting that, if protections are given to babies that are born within their first three gestational months, that would affect how the law would view babies that are not yet born, but are in their first three gestational months?

I guess I had always understood the Court's abortion rulings to relate to fetus' while they were inside the mother, and only while they were inside the mother... since they are built on the "right to privacy" of the mother.

Once the baby is outside the mother, and alive, it seems to me that "right to privacy" concerns give way to "parental rights" or something of that sort, and I would assume that any laws made regarding babies that are no longer inside the mother would have no effect on rulings based on the "right to privacy" of the mother.

But maybe I'm wrong. Do you know of any constitutional lawyers or scholars who have written on the subject, and come to conclusion that a law protecting very-premature-born babies would potentially undermine the Constitutional basis of Roe (or Casey)?

I'm also curious how any state law (or even federal law) could possibly, even in theory, "undercut" Roe (or Casey). Supreme Court rulings on Constitutional issues are second only the Constitution itself in our legislative system. If there was any way for any state law to undercut Roe (or Casey), it would have been done in various states by now... but any attempt so far has been presumptively ruled unconstitutional because the Supreme Court's constitutional interpretation takes precedence.

I guess I'm confused what specifically is the fear here. What would be the worst-case scenario, if such a law was passed?


steviepinhead said...

Hmm. I just based my comments on Mark's brief description of the situation, not on any deep research. And I've got no expertise either on the abortion techniques used at various stages...

Nor, finally, have I taken a recent close look at Casey, despite Mark's invitation to do so in the other thread on that topic.

My -- possibly unsophisticated, outdated, or inaccurate -- image of the legal situation created by the original decision is that the rights of the mother and the rights of the state (on behalf of the baby) are placed on a seesaw. As the mother's relative rights wane over time, the state's right to intrude into the situation wax.

As you say, once a baby is born alive, even if non-viable (is MB saying that this never happens? my understanding is that it does, that the sine qua non of viability, despite various medical advances, remains the degree of development of the baby's lungs, which still tracks reasonably closely with the first/second trimestral dividing line), then perhaps the equation is no longer the simple one that I am envisioning.

So, I am not saying that the baby, for it's brief term of independent life, isn't entitled to whatever full panoply of rights might practially apply to its tenuous situation: comfort, care, nutrition, etc. In isolation, that all seems perfectly defensible.

Nonetheless, I see -- and I therefore suspect Obama or his advisors could have seen -- not simply the baby side of the equation being altered by this grant of rights, but the legal position of the mother potentially being impacted as well.

If the baby is now a "person," with whatever fairly-large and multiplex bundle of rights that entails, how does that leave the mother situated. Is what she attempted to do, legal at the time she initiated it, what she attempted to do now retrospectivly viewable as an assault, or attempted homicide, or some such?

Are her parents, or the child's baby, now allowed to intrude upon her care and decision-making in ways they otherwise would not have been?

I don't know what the statute, or potential later litigation around the statute, may say to clarify -- or deliberately obscure -- any of this.

I do know that certain concepts, terms, and procedures have been elevated to the status of "code" by the warring sides over the years, where the words don't mean what they seem to mean, but import other things that would not be obviously entailed by a superficial reading.

The result is that each side now approaches reasonable-on-the-surface language and concepts promoted by the other as if they were landmines.

This may be a case where the "pro-life" side really meant nothing dastardly or line-moving by the language in question, but the "pro-choice" side was nonetheless (from its point of view) "spooked" that something nefarious was lurking under the waters.

The whole situation could really use a fresh, collaborative, good faith approach to identify goals that everybody of reason ought to be able to get behind. My perhaps-naive impression is that Obama is more open to this than is McCain.

Again, I confess my ignorance of many of the potentially-relevant details, legal, medical, and otherwise, and of course I understand that ther are some passionately-held views here that may differ from mine, either from basic principle or (quite possible) due to possession of better information.

steviepinhead said...

Some typos in there -- have a work crunch -- but hopefully the thrust is clear.

One that says "child's baby" should say "child's father"!


MarkC said...


If Obama is truly afraid that there is some hidden meaning to some of these terms... I'd be very interested to hear him describe the hidden meanings that he fears.

I read his entire information page on the subject, and the only thing I saw was his generic statement of fear that abortion rights might be undermined, but he gave no information about why that might be the case.

In fact, the Illinois legislation that Obama opposed seems precisely to me like an attempt to "identify goals that everybody of reason ought to be able to get behind". Yet Obama opposed it, and as far as I can tell his only reason for doing so is a nebulous fear about an unknown potential unspecified danger to abortion rights... sort of the ultimate slippery-slope argument, I guess.

Based on that evidence, I would say that, when it comes to abortion, Obama is not likely to be on the forefront of any efforts to open the conversation and find common ground. He's had chances, and has firmly rejected them, as far as I can tell.

To tell the truth, I have no idea what McCain would have done in a similar situation. Abortion hasn't been one of his forefront issues during his legislative career, as it has been for Obama, so I don't intend to advocate him as more of a reconciler... but I certainly don't see any evidence that (on this particular issue) Obama will build any bridges.


steviepinhead said...

I agree that Obama has, thus far, manifested a very consistent adherence to the pro-choice side of matters. And, of course, from that point of view, Roe is hanging by a thread and is all that's preserving the status quo that has evolved over the past thirty-odd years.

One that is frustrating to both sides, but has not given either side a completely free hand to forward its own agenda. A kind of balance of power...

But Obama's talking a different game, a way out of the stalemate of locked positions.

We'll see if he walks the talk. I'm not betting on it, by any means, but I am hoping for it.

MarkC said...


I wouldn't quite use the word "balance", I don't think. It might be true that neither side of extremists gets absolutely everything they want... but if you put those who oppose abortion on one side (call it "-10"), and those who support unrestricted availability of abortion on the other side (call it "10"), I'd say that the Court has put a stake in the ground at about, oh, 8, saying that nothing less than an 8 is available under the Constitution. That's subjective, yes... but that's about how this "balance" feels to me.

But Obama's talking a different game, a way out of the stalemate of locked positions.

I must have missed this. What is Obama suggesting, as a way out of the stalemate of locked positions regarding abortion? Can you point me to somewhere where he lays out this plan? I don't know anything about it.


steviepinhead said...

Here's a quote from a Time magazine article about the candidates' answers on abortion at the Saddleback meeting back in early August:

"Obama offered an artful dodge to the question of when a human deserves rights. "Whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade," he said. Like many of his responses that night, it was a long, careful, nuanced plowing of middle ground. He did not suggest that the only rights that matter are a woman's over her body. He also affirmed his moral dimensions of the issue: he noted his willingness to limit late-term abortions, provided there is an exception if a woman's health is at risk; and he talked about finding the resources to help women who choose to keep their baby, and about trying to reduce the need for abortions in the first place. It reflected the careful effort Obama has made to reach out to the ambivalent middle, which is reflected in a Democratic Party platform that unequivocally defends the right to legal abortion but also calls for better access to contraception and comprehensive sex education. This is classic "common ground" language designed to break with past orthodoxy and reach out to independents who don't much like abortion but who don't want doctors and patients being carted off to jail for performing or having them."

MarkC said...


"We want fewer abortions, but the right to have an abortion should be effectively granted exclusively to the mother." That's nothing new. Democratic politicians have been saying that for years.

I would be interested to know to what degree Obama is willing to "limit" late-term abortions, and how expansive the exception clause for the "health" of the mother would be.

As the Supreme Court interpreted the "health of the mother" phrase, it is inclusive of mental health, and can only be determined by the mother and her doctor... so it effectively grants complete autonomy to choose to have an abortion to the mother, at any time during her pregnancy.

I don't find it very inspiring that, at a religious gathering, Obama made nebulous claims of intent to potentially allow "limiting" certain abortions, using terms that can be so broadly interpreted as to have no actual limiting effect.

And that's been the standard position of Democratic presidential candidates for as long as I can remember. I certainly wouldn't describe it as "talking a different game".

But, at least I understand what you were referring to. Thanks...


Kevin said...

I find it confusing that Time characterizes the Democratic Party platform as reflecting the "ambivalent middle" (independents?) to whom, it says, Obama was reaching out and also breaking with past orthodoxy.

And, assuming that Obama is actually "talking a different game, a way out of the stalemate of locked positions", how do we reconcile his Saddleback statements with his other statements and actions?


MarkC said...

A friend today sent me a link to that same article, Kevin. It appears to be reasonable and meticulously documented, discussing Obama's statements and record regarding abortion. It didn't tell me much that I didn't already know, but it does make it clear why, from my perspective, Obama is not leaning toward the middle, trying to find middle ground, or working toward any sort of compromise on this issue. On the contrary, one of his top priorities is to get rid of the small compromises that have been negotiated over the last two decades.