At Saddleback Barack Obama responded to the question addressed to him by Rick Warren on abortion as being "above my pay grade." Those who have dug into his record in the Illinois senate, however, have found evidence that Obama is a devout believer in what might be called the sacramental or positive good view of abortion: nothing can be allowed to interfere with the unfettered exercise of the purported right, including the accident of an infant born alive.
David Freddoso considers the evidence in "Life lies." Russell Berman covers the political fallout in "Obama facing attacks from all sides over abortion record." The attacks from the left that are alluded to in the headline of Berman's article date from the primary season. The attacks now at issue come from the right; they have elicited the charge from Obama that they are lies. As Freddoso shows, it is Obama's defense that appears to fail the cherry tree test.
In 2001, Senator Barack Obama was the only member of the Illinois senate to speak against a bill that would have recognized premature abortion survivors as “persons.” The bill was in response to a Chicago-area hospital that was leaving such babies to die. Obama voted “present” on the bill after denouncing it. It passed the state Senate but died in a state house committee.
In 2003, a similar bill came before Obama’s health committee. He voted against it. But this time, the legislation was slightly different. This latter version was identical to the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which by then had already passed the U.S. Senate unanimously (with a hearty endorsement even from abortion advocate Sen. Barbara Boxer) and had been signed into law by President Bush.
Sen. Obama is currently misleading people about what he voted against, specifically claiming that the bill he voted against in his committee lacked “neutrality” language on Roe v. Wade. The bill did contain this language. He even participated in the unanimous vote to put it in.
Obama’s work against the bill to protect premature babies represents one of two times in his political career, along with his speech against the Iraq war, that he really stuck out his neck for something that might hurt him politically. Unlike his Iraq speech, Obama is deeply embarrassed about this one — so embarrassed that he is offering a demonstrable falsehood in explanation for his actions. Fortunately, the documents showing the truth are now available.
At the end of last week, Obama gave an interview to CBN’s David Brody in which he repeated the false claim that the born-alive bills he worked, spoke, and voted against on this topic between 2001 and 2003 would have negatively affected Roe v. Wade. This has always been untrue, but, until last week, it appeared to be a debatable point that depended on one’s interpretation of the bill language. Every single version of the bill was neutral on Roe. Each one affected only babies already born, not ones in the womb.