Obama Cover-up Revealed on Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Bill
Newly obtained documents prove that contrary to what he has repeatedly said, the state bill to protect babies that survive abortion that Barack Obama voted down in 2003 was virtually identical to the federal “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.” Even the most liberal members of Congress supported that federal law that Congress enacted.
As an Illinois state senator Obama opposed the state legislation even after NARAL had withdrawn its initial opposition to the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA), an essentially identical bill, and after the final federal bill had been enacted in August 2002. Obama did so even after the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which he chaired, amended its bill to contain verbatim language, copied from the federal bill passed by Congress without objection in 2002, that explicitly foreclosed any impact on abortion.
Obama’s legislative actions—denying effective protection and care 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.
Knowing how potentially damaging his actions could be, during Obama’s 2008 run for President, his campaign and his defenders have asserted repeatedly and forcefully that it is a distortion, or even a smear, to suggest that Obama opposed a state BAIPA that was the same as the federal bill. The Obama “cover story” has often been repeated as fact, or at least without challenge, in major organs of the news media.
This is not the first time Obama has had to deal with his votes on the Illinois BAIPA. When he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2004, his Republican opponent criticized him for supporting “infanticide.” Obama countered this charge with the same defense he has used more recently: he claims that he had opposed the state BAIPA because it lacked the pre-birth neutrality clause that had been added to the federal bill. As the Chicago Tribune reported on October 4, 2004, “Obama said that had he been in the U.S. Senate two years ago, he would have voted for the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, even though he voted against a state version of the proposal. The federal version was approved; the state version was not. ... The 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 1973 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that legalized abortion.”
In 2002, the federal bill was enacted, after a “neutrality clause” was added to explicitly state that the bill expressed no judgment, in either direction, about the legal status of a human prior to live birth. The bill passed without a dissenting vote in either house of Congress.
National Right to Life and other pro-life observers have always regarded Obama’s “defense” as contrived, since the original two-paragraph BAIPA on its face applied only after a live birth; the “neutrality clause” added in 2001 merely made this explicit, and therefore the new clause did not change the substance of the original bill. Moreover, an overwhelming majority of liberal, pro-abortion members of the U.S. House of Representatives did not embrace the initial NARAL position that the original bill was an attack on Roe v. Wade.
For the moment we can set that debate aside, however, for this reason: 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 Illinois 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, differed only on minor points of bill-drafting style from the federal law. A contemporaneous Senate Committee Action Report and Senate Republican Staff Analysis demonstrate how the committee acted to amend the bill to exactly track the federal born-alive law, and then defeated it. The 6–4 committee vote to kill the bill was also reported in an Associated Press dispatch of March 13, 2003.
Less than two years after this meeting, Obama began to publicly claim that he opposed the state BAIPA because it lacked the “neutrality” clause, and that he would have supported the federal version (had he been a member of Congress) because it contained the “neutrality” clause. His claim has been accepted on its face by various media outlets, producing stories that have in turn been quoted by the Obama campaign and Obama defenders in attacking anyone who asserts that Obama opposed born-alive legislation similar to the federal bill. It has also been forcefully repeated by advocacy groups such as NARAL.
It appears that as of August 7, 2008, only one writer—Terence Jeffrey, a contributing editor to HumanEvents.com—had correctly reported the essence of this story, in a column posted on January 16, 2008, but his report was ignored by the Obama campaign and overlooked by others at the time.
Now, the uncovering of the Senate Committee Action Report, the Senate staff document, and the contemporary Associated Press report shed new light on Senator Obama’s four-year effort to cover up his real record of refusing to protect live-born survivors of abortion.