Obama: Anti-Choice Lobby Lies


Sen. Barack Obama is not mincing words when it comes to distortions anti-choice lobbyists from the National Right to Life Committee and others are making about his record in the Illinois Senate. The following is from an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody:

Brody: Real quick, the Born Alive Infant Protection
Act. I gotta tell you that’s the one thing I get a lot of emails about
and it’s just not just from Evangelicals, it about Catholics,
Protestants, main — they’re trying to understand it because there was
some literature put out by the National Right to Life Committee. And
they’re basically saying they felt like you misrepresented your
position on that bill.

Obama: Let me clarify this right now.

Brody: Because it’s getting a lot of play.

Obama: Well and because they have not been telling
the truth. And I hate to say that people are lying, but here’s a
situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would
have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that
everybody supported – which was to say –that you should provide
assistance to any infant that was born – even if it was as a
consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was
presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying
to undermine Roe vs. Wade. By the way, we also had a bill, a law
already in place in Illinois that insured life saving treatment was
given to infants.

So for people to suggest that I and the Illinois medical society, so
Illinois doctors were somehow in favor of withholding life saving
support from an infant born alive is ridiculous. It defies commonsense
and it defies imagination and for people to keep on pushing this is
offensive and it’s an example of the kind of politics that we have to
get beyond. It’s one thing for people to disagree with me about the
issue of choice, it’s another thing for people to out and out
misrepresent my positions repeatedly, even after they know that they’re
wrong. And that’s what’s been happening.

Brody: I wanted to give you a chance to clear it up.

Obama: I appreciate it.

Brody: Thank you so much.

 

ABC’s Jake Tapper reminds readers of his blog, Political Punch, that this story has been floating around for quite some time. It was even a source of concern, for different reasons, for some Democratic voters in the heated primary against Sen. Clinton.

So why is it getting such heated attention now? Jerome Corsi’s recently released, and widely discredited, book once again fans the flame of the lie, is one reason. Another is that the anti-choice community elevated the issue right before the Saddleback Forum to intensify focus on abortion with increased evidence that Obama is leading in the polls among all faith groups except Evangelicals, where he is expected to do better than other recent Democratic Presidential candidates.

In fact these same issues were raised in his race for the Senate in Illinois, and voters there heard the charges, looked at the facts, then voted to send him to Washington.

The Associated Press is also reporting that another anti-choice political action committee is planning a major ad campaign against him on abortion issues but fears;

"they will be prosecuted for breaking federal rules that restrict
fundraising and advertising by political action committees, or PACs. The Real Truth About Obama wants to post ads on its Web site and on the
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity talk shows in key states during the
"electioneering communication" blackout period 60 days before the
general election. The ad features an "Obama-like voice" saying he would
make taxpayers pay for all abortions, ensure minors’ abortions are
concealed from their parents, appoint more liberal Supreme Court
justices and legalize the late-term procedure that abortion opponents
call "partial-birth" abortion.

 

As Sen. Obama said at the Saddleback Forum, there are some issues on which we cannot argue, "because
that is a core issue of faith for you", or as Pastor Warren said, we should be able to "disagree without demonizing."

Obama’s strong statement is not likely to quiet lobbyists who want to use the most extreme language on the most extreme issues to distort reality, but then again, these are the same people who won’t tell you that they want to outlaw contraception as much as they want to outlaw abortion. They know they can’t win the contraception argument so they get people to focus on abortion, and on the most extreme aspects of that, while moving an anti-contraception agenda quietly in the Bush Administration.

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To schedule an interview with Scott Swenson please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • http://www.prolifewitness.com invalid-0

    >> distortions anti-choice lobbyists from the National Right to Life Committee and others are making about his record in the Illinois Senate.

    How about a reality check here – just yesterday, Obama’s campaign admitted that he was wrong on his record.

    This is the typical pattern that those in the abortion rights movement use – misrepresent the facts, distort the issue, and then in the same breath, accuse the pro-life movement of lying.

    What a perfect example – a perfect example of intellectual dishonesty shown pro-abortion bloggers who have, in spite of the evidence, defended Obama’s record by claiming that people are lying about his record.

    It only shows the willful blindness to defend the absolute right to abortion on demand, at any cost, including the truth. This is systemic in the top levels of the abortion rights movement down to the grassroots. Of course, let me not paint too broadly – there are those who aren’t guilty of this, but they are the exception and not the norm.

    From the NY Sun, Aug 18:

    Indeed, Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position in the CBN interview on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported “was not the bill that was presented at the state level.”

    His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate, and a spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said the senator and other lawmakers had concerns that even as worded, the legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law. Those concerns did not exist for the federal bill, because there is no federal abortion law.

    (via Jill Stanek’s blog entry Breaking news: Obama campaign changes story, admits he misrepresented Born Alive vote

  • scott-swenson

    Rueben:

     

    Sorry to be slow in responding, but I have been in meetings and offline. You need to look at the full article, which Jill and the thousand other pro-life blogs now blathering about this truncated, I’ve bolded it below so you don’t miss it;

    His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an
    identical bill in the state Senate, and a spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said
    the senator and other lawmakers had concerns that even as worded, the
    legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law. Those
    concerns did not exist for the federal bill, because there is no
    federal abortion law.

    In 2005, the campaign noted, a "Born Alive" bill passed the Illinois
    Legislature after another clause had been added that explicitly stated
    that the legislation would have no effect on existing state abortion
    laws.

     

    That indicates clearly that further amending was needed in order to address the concerns about the bill.

    This is typical of the anti-choice crowd. Take the most extreme piece of evidence you can find, make it sound even worse by distorting it, then don’t tell the full the story. It is a very effective political tactic, but it undermines the ability to discuss any issue.

    Even more importantly, you fail to recognize the most important aspect. For the women involved this late-term abortion is a difficult procedure that is only performed because of serious health threats to the life of the mother (often saving her life) or serious problems with the health of the fetus. The far-right tries to make it sound like late-term abortions are done with reckless abandon. They are not. The far-right tries to make it sound like these procedures are common, when in fact, they are extremely rare, the CDC figure for 2002 is that these represent fewer than 1.4 percent of all abortions.

    That won’t stop anti-choice lobbyists from demonizing any candidate that disagrees with them by using these extreme tactics to distort and distract, and ignoring the very serious health concerns of the women’s lives involved. Already plans are underway to use this distortion in a major campaign by an independent 527 campaign, as stated above. Distraction and distortion, that is what the anti-choice movement does best.

     

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • http://www.prolifewitness.com invalid-0

    Look – his campaign admitted he was wrong – why can’t you? In all seriousness, admitting a mistake is a humbling experience – I’ve had to admit things that I published were wrong, and admittedly it’s difficult.

    >>For the women involved this late-term abortion is a difficult procedure that is only performed because of serious health threats to the life of the mother (often saving her life) or serious problems with the health of the fetus.

    Certainly for many women, any abortion decision is difficult – we don’t disagree on that.

    But do you really believe are *only* performed for serious health threats of the mother or serious problems with the health of the fetus? Are you joking? You don’t really belive they are never performed for other reasons?

    And could you publicly state that late term birth control abortions should not be allowed as they currently are?

    There are documented cases of women undergoing late term abortions for birth control reasons. I myself know of one woman who had an abortion at 7 months because she felt she couldn’t be a good mother – her health or life was not at stake, nor was anything wrong with her unborn child.

    >>and ignoring the very serious health concerns of the women’s lives involved

    Uh, let’s not forget that the issue here is babies that survived an abortion – they were born alive – so tell me how the women’s lives were threatened by providing medical care to the babies that survived?

    And for *some* other late term methods, let’s not forget that quite often, the only real difference between late term abortion and normal birth is that with the abortion the baby is dead – the woman *still* has to deliver the baby intact, she still has to go through labor.

    When it comes to abortions where the unborn children are delivered intact, the real issues at hand is that the problem is that baby is *alive* – if giving birth to a live baby were a threat to a woman’s health, then so is giving birth to an intact but dead baby.

    There is no net threat to the woman’s life or health by letting the baby be born alive, and then providing care for the infant and mother. There is also no threat to a woman’s life or health by providing medical care for babies that survive abortion.

    The fact that the percentages of late term abortions may be “low” (one is too many) is a non-issue.

    Obama is way out in left field on this issue, and yes, his record on the born alive infants act is enough to keep him out of office – after all, infants born alive, abortion not withstanding, are CITIZENS of the United States – and someone who fails to recongize this birth right should not hold the office of the Presidency.

    When it comes to distortion – your movement is king. From framing the issue as “choice”, to calling the unborn “blood and tissue”, to claiming that the unborn are not human, to claiming that conception begins at implantation, to claiming that abortions don’t happen in the second and third trimester, to claiming that when they do they are only for health / life of the mother or severe fetal defects, to distorting the issue as being one of religion instead of biology and science, to the dogmatic mindset that abortion trumps reality or facts – your movement is the pinnicle of distortion and obfuscation, not ours. (NOTE: I’m talking about the broad debate here – I’m not picking on individuals unknowingly repeat misinformation. I’m talking distortion as a national strategy – the abortion rights movement champions distortion and obfuscation as a national strategy)

    It’s why when people learn the facts – they typically move towards our position and away from yours – it’s not so common that it’s the other way around.

    Finally, like many other pro-abortion bloggers – who supposedly provide a “reality check” on this issue – it seems the zeal to defend abortion on demand is more important that the truth.

  • scott-swenson

    Rueben,

    I have no problem admitting that I’m wrong, when I am. Take time to read the stories I linked to of women whose life and health was threatened and saved. They are real women (at least one a mother already) who had medical issues that you so easily dismiss. Of course, as you always do you raise the specter of “abortion on demand” or “abortion as birth control” as if this is the norm. You say nothing about the failures to provide comprehensive sex education to help people understand more about their sexual and reproductive heath, or whether or not you even support birth control as a means of preventing unintended pregnancies. The vast majority of Americans rely on family planning to make decisions about whether and when to bring children into this world, and the vast majority of women who do choose abortion do so early in a pregnancy. You cite “a woman I know” but I cited documented stories and CDC statistics. You try to make Obama sound like he doesn’t care about babies by distorting what actually happened on a piece of legislation that would have threatened the rights of women by undermining the Illinois abortion law. In fact, pro-choice people of both parties demonstrate concern for women, children and families by working to ensure that the right to make medical decisions is vested where it should be, with women, couples, physicians. Every pregnancy is different, every woman different, medical decisions need to be made on a case by case basis. You want to make laws to govern the most extreme story you can find, and in a nation of diverse beliefs that is no way to govern. I would far rather work to improve sex education for all, access to contraception for all who want it, and policies that support women no matter what choice they make, than to pretend that the most extreme (un-cited) examples represent the actual issue being discussed. Because someone uses a gun irresponsibly to kill does that does that mean that all guns should be banned? Some say yes, but most believe that individual responsibility has something to with life, and that government should not be telling us what to do with our private lives, especially where medicine is concerned. A person who uses a gun irresponsibly is usually jailed. Do you think that should happen to a woman who gets an abortion for a reason you disagree with? How exactly do you justify that in a pluralistic democracy?


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    I can’t spend more time on this, so you can have the last post.

    Concerning the stories – of course the situations are heartbreaking and sad – but it seems they still gave birth didn’t they? If they received a PBA, the only real difference was the baby was killed before birth was finished and it’s head was decompressed.

    Don’t you think it’s possible that the babies could have been born alive instead of being killed? This is my point, unless delivering an uncompressed head posed additional risk, the labor of the procedure was no more a threat than the live birth.

    >You say nothing about the failures to provide comprehensive sex education to help people understand more about their sexual and reproductive heath, or whether or not you even support birth control as a means of preventing unintended pregnancies

    Failure to provide CSE? Contraception? I guess those two have made abortion rare, to the point the rate is almost zero?

    C’mon Scott, we’ve had decades of promises regarding contraception, and it has yet to deliver as promised, at least for unmarried couples and teens.

    Do your homework – data is availabe from the 50s up to now, and the net effect is that abortions increased despite increased access to contraception – and CSE won’t make abortion any more rare than it already *isn’t*.

    >>You cite “a woman I know” but I cited documented stories and CDC statistics.

    Ok – you don’t think many late term abortions are done on healthy babies?

    Two quick items.

    late term abortions in Russia on healthy babies. Don’t think it happens here too? Don’t kid yourself. For the most part, these abortios have nothing to do with the life or health of a woman, but rather, the problem of having a live child.

    And here in the US, it happens as well – see:

    Convenience Abortion in Kansas (just one example..)

    >>and policies that support women no matter what choice they make

    Surely you don’t believe that either – if a woman decided to kill her toddler, you would support that?

    C’mon Scott, stop repeating the sound bites and bumper sticker slogans, and use some critical analysis here. Or at least stop writing this tripe…

  • invalid-0

    The links were:

    Killing Girls abortion documentary:

    Killing Girls Abortion Documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCVVXbAOSko

    Late term Convenience Abortion in KS:

    Late term Convenience Abortion in KS

  • scott-swenson

    Rueben: First, I respect you and your right as an American to worship freely and live your life consistently with your beliefs. The links you provided above were 1) a documentary about abortion in Russia, and while the Bush Administration has created problems for Americans in Russia with its foreign policy, I’m not sure that it is applicable to the policy debate in the US (the subject of this post); and 2) a press release with no details about the one woman’s story upon which you would change laws restricting the rights to proper health care for all women. That press release, I should note, if accurate, points out that laws already exist to prohibit the activity you claim was in evidence there, thus there is no need for additional laws. So why does the far-right continue to demand that we talk about the most extreme cases, for which laws already exist, as opposed to focusing our time and energy on a shared goal of improved sexuality education and reproductive health that allows all people to make the best private medical decisions for their lives?

    If you feel the need to insult me or my argument as simplistic, or “tripe” that is your choice for a style of argument. If you believe that the sources listed above balance out information from the Centers for Disease Control, that is your choice. We will continue working for an agenda that encourages the idea that health care must include sexual and reproductive health care, and recognizes the rights, responsibilities and respect that each person is entitled to.

    I hope we can agree to disagree without adding more polarization to a political process that desperately needs to find common ground. Most Americans understand that the extremes on any issue are not where problems get resolved. Thanks for your comments.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • scott-swenson

    More objective analysis on Obama’s vote from the Chicago Tribune. For those who won’t take time to read the link, it supports the analysis in the piece above and the comment highlighting the fact that anti-choice bloggers are not telling the full story. Unfortunately that will not stop anti-choice lobbyists from funding attack ads to further misinform voters on this very, very rare medical procedure, and thus continue to distract the debate about common sense education and prevention efforts that would help all Americans.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    We could cite “more objective” news stories (which, btw, is a subjective judgment) all week – or the rest of the election cycle.

    Here’s another article on the issue, and it won’t be the last one either..
    Obama’s 2003 Stand on Abortion Draws New Criticism in 2008

    “Mr. Obama has repeatedly said that he would have been willing to vote for such a measure in Illinois had it been identical to the federal statute. But “that was not the bill that was presented at the state level,” he said Saturday. “What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe v. Wade.”

    The statute Congress passed in 2002 and the one the Illinois committee rejected a year later are virtually identical. Both say, for example, that “the words ‘person,’ ‘human being,’ ‘child’ and ‘individual’ shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development,” regardless of whether that birth “occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section or induced abortion.”

    In his remarks Saturday, Mr. Obama took a lawyerly approach, appearing to refer to the entire package of abortion-related bills regularly submitted to the Illinois legislature, not only to the 2003 definitional bill. His critics, however, said that was a smoke screen.

    “Obama confuses these bills, which were entirely separate,” Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said. “They had sequential numbers, but they were not in any way linked. To call them a package is a tactic to try to reach out and grab issues in an attempt to divert attention from this one.”

    Some more info on this issue from Jill Stanek in her post Obama’s ‘fact sheet’ changes

    Yesterday the Obama campaign released a new “fact sheet” with a critical change in the chart, and an admission Obama opposed the amended Born Alive bill, which was now identical to the federal version.

    What I sense in our exchange is that, if Obama came out and said “I was wrong about my record, I did not support an identical bill” – the abortion rights movement would still be circling the wagon on this story and denying that he was wrong.

    Scott, you can keep circling the wagon here, but it isn’t going make his record go away. You and I can debate all year on this – ultimately people will decide, based upon the evidence, what happened.

    PS. btw, the russian video was just an example of late term birth control abortion – obviously russia has a higher rate of these, but nevertheless to think that they don’t happen here is simply a case of willful ignorance and denial of reality. (So much for this site being a “reality check”).

  • invalid-0
  • scott-swenson

    In 2005, the campaign noted, a "Born Alive" bill passed the Illinois Legislature after another clause had been added that explicitly stated that the legislation would have no effect on existing state abortion laws.

     

    The votes were made to prevent that state law from being impacted, something that was not a concern at the federal level, and once that happened the bill passed.

    It is far more important that we find common ground and help Americans access tools so they can plan their families and make their own private health care decisions based on what is best for their lives. I understand you believe differently Rueben, I’m just unclear why you have such disrespect for democracy, freedom of religion and the choices that other individuals make. Live your beliefs and allow others to live theirs.

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • scott-swenson

    Jill’s facts have been proven to be fictions by mainstream media that even she cites. She couldn’t quote the full explanation from the campaign on her blog, just as you refuse to acknowledge it here, because to do so would rob you of your misinformation. I understand that in the anti-choice blogosphere all you do is repeat misinformation to get people worked up, but with the news that the GOP will be having a pro-choice keynote speaker, and perhaps a pro-choice vice presidential nominee, I’m not sure that dog will hunt this time around.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • scott-swenson

    From Seth Colter Walls who has been reporting this story from HuffPo, and from the Obama campaign.

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor