Roundup: Far Right’s ‘Born Alive’ Infanticide Smear Proven False

Far Right’s ‘Born Alive’ Infanticide Smear Proven False … The Obama campaign has released a fact sheet detailing Obama’s voting record on various versions of the bill labeled the ‘Born Alive Infant Protection Act’ (BAIPA) in the Illinois legislature.  The intrepid Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune has also done the research that the National Right to Life Council, Jill Stanek and other far right anti-choice extremists have not.  These two parties were principally responsible for distorting votes Obama made while chair of the Health and Human Services committee of the Illinois General Assembly and inflating these distortions into a full fledged smear accusing Barack Obama of supporting infanticide. 

EDIT: After re-reading much of this back-and-forth I would like to edit my original post this morning.  Like Stanek, who admitted to making a mistake in her evaluation of Obama’s voting record, the Obama campaign itself made a mistake in the original explanation of the bill and did not correct their inaccurate defense of the 2003 vote until the fact sheet was posted to the web on August 19th.  The only fact that matters now is that the 2003 Illinois committee version of the bill did not sufficiently address the neutrality issue thus making the bill legally dissimilar to the 2002 federal version.  

As State Rep Schoenberg explained in Eric Zorn’s research:

The feeling of the majority was that the bill (even as amended) still created great uncertainty about whether it would compromise abortion rights.  It looked like  yet another case of advocates trying to inject politics into the practice of medicine; we saw a desire to keep those   those key questions (about abortion rights) unclear.

Thus Obama’s original defense of the bill, that it did not sufficiently provide legal neutrality to protect existing abortion law, was accurate.  And he was not the only legislator with concerns about the first 16 versions of the BAIPA bill that eventually passed in Illinois, as Zorn writes:

But Obama was far from the only state lawmaker who needed stronger
assurances that these bills were not Trojan horses: Seven more bills
related to "born-alive" failed in the General Assembly in 2004, and
Obama had nothing to do with those bills. And in 2005, when Obama was
in the U.S. Senate, a "born-alive" bill passed easily in Illinois when
specific wording was added, over the objections of abortion-rights
foes, saying it would not affect state law regarding abortion.

McCain Backs Away from Abortion Pledge … In 2000, when John McCain was running against George W. Bush for the Republican nomination, the still alive ‘maverick’ stood against the Republican party platform to support exceptions to abortion bans in the cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother — check out this video of a 2000 ABC debate in which McCain makes his support for exceptions to abortion bans very clear.  

John McCain has now reversed his position and fallen in line with the social conservatives of the party to support criminalizing abortion and the doctors and women choose to provide and receive abortion care:

John McCain’s campaign signaled on Wednesday that the Arizona senator
is backing away from his previously stated goal of changing the GOP’s
platform on abortion.

"There’s a process in place for the delegates to work on the
platform and we are going to let that process work itself out," McCain
spokesman Brian Rogers told ABC News.

McCain’s plan to take a hands-off approach with the abortion
platform stands in stark contrast with the position he took during his
first presidential run.

Back in 2000, McCain clashed with then-Gov. George W. Bush over his
unwillingness to change platform language that called for a human life
amendment banning all abortions.

Bush Administration’s Anto-contraception Proposal Would Blunt State Contraception Access Laws … The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the recently proposed anti-contraception HHS regulations "would stop California from enforcing a state law that requires Catholic
hospitals and charities to provide birth control coverage for thousands
of female employees, state Attorney General Jerry Brown and
family-planning advocates said Wednesday."

The article goes on to say that the California law and similar laws in states around the country are the target of the proposed regulation changes: 

The draft regulation describes the problem as laws such as those in
California and New York that require employers to include
contraceptives in any prescription drug coverage they offer to
employees. The federal agency had no comment Wednesday on the proposal.

California’s law was passed in 2000 in response to decisions by many
health insurance plans to cover the male potency drug Viagra but
continue to deny coverage for birth control pills, forcing women to pay
for contraceptives.

The state Supreme Court upheld the law in a 2004 ruling that applied
to 1,600 employees of Catholic Charities and 52,000 employees of
Catholic hospitals in the state. The law exempts church employees, but
the court said affiliated agencies such as Catholic Charities are
secular institutions because they employ and serve mostly non-Catholics.

Two more articles that warn against the implementation of these regualtions appear in The Daily News Record of Harrisburg, Virginia and in the Argus Leader.

The Poor State of Reproductive Health and Rights in Yemen … Dr. Walid Nasser Abdullah, a Yemeni doctor, writes in the Yemen Times today about the many problems facing women’s reproductive health and rights in his country:

Women in Yemen certainly experience a terrible situation regarding their reproductive lives. Numerous health indicators reflect not only the deterioration of basic health care, particularly prenatal care and safe childbirth services, but also women’s social inferiority in various aspects of their lives, such as the right to receive an education, proper nutrition, occupational opportunities and access to health care.

Dr. Abdullah goes on to provide three areas on which Yemen could focus to start down the path of improvement including fighting the terrible practice of female circumcision, delaying the traditionally young ages at which Yemeni girls are married and improved access to critical family planning services. 


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  • invalid-0

    What’s amazing about this web site is how you’ll accept almost any horrible weak argument as long as it supports the pro-choice position or candidate. Dana Goldstein writes a completely unresearched article on Obama and the Born Alive legislation, claiming his opposition was because the legislation was going to ban partial-birth abortion. This was obviously false if you actually read the legislation, never mind the fact that the Obama campaign used a completely different excuse (the supposed lack of neutrality clause). But that didn’t stop numerous bloggers at this site to link to Goldstein article as if it was some great piece pf work.

    Now that we know for a fact the 2003 Illinois Born Alive legislation was amended in March of 2003 to have a neutrality and Obama still voted against it, you’re linking to the Obama’s campaign weak defense of their candidate.

    I hope your readers go to the Zorn column and see how deceptive you are. Stanek’s “mistake” was in claiming Obama never allowed a vote on the neutrality clause when it has recently been revealed that a vote was allowed and Obama voted against the legislation even though it had a neutrality clause (something which he’s been denying for years). Her mistake wasn’t in claiming Obama voted against the Born Alive legislation as you so pathetically attempt to mislead people into believing.

  • invalid-0

    Ill just post what I posted on the other site written by a man with your last name.

    You have misunderstood the mistake.

    She thought he blocked the ammendment that turned the bill into virtually the same bill.

    It turns out that he actually supported this ammendment, but still voted against the bill.

    What this tells us is that in fact he knew, and was part of the creation of, that this bill was virtually identical to the Federal bill that he said he would have supported.

    Now, Im all for people making mistakes, but the issue is that he said that “folks” were lying, when pro-lifers claimed that he lied. The fact is that even his campagin admited this mistake.

    Either he has memory problems, or he misrepresented his vote. Either way he needs to issue an apology for calling “folks” liars.

  • invalid-0

    Assuming it is true only one person is on record saying the issue does not matter.

  • brady-swenson

    Jivin, I did make an edit to my post about the nature of Stanek’s mistake. I had misread Zorn. The fact of the matter is that we now know that Obama’s explanation of the vote on the 2003 bill, in contrast to NRLC’s conclusion, was indeed accurate. The 2003 committee version of the bill did not sufficiently address concerns among many Illinois dems, including all six on the HHS committee, that the bill still left concerns over the way Illinois abortion law would be enforced, as State Rep Schoenberg explained in Eric Zorn’s research:

    The feeling of the majority was that the bill (even as amended) still created great uncertainty about whether it would compromise abortion rights. It looked like yet another case of advocates trying to inject politics into the practice of medicine; we saw a desire to keep those those key questions (about abortion rights) unclear.

  • invalid-0

    Thanks for making the changes you did – but I still think you owe an apology to Stanek and your readers. Stanek didn’t make a mistake in evaluating Obama’s voting record – she didn’t know what his record was.

    We now know what his new excuse is after the totally different excuse he’s been using for the past four years was debunked by National Right to Life. How is National Right to Life being inaccurate for pointing out Obama misrepresented why he voted against the legislation when his campaign has already admitted he voted against state legislation which was identical to the federal legislation???

    Obama campaign’s “fact sheet” is incredibly weak on the 2003 legislation. It lists a Planned Parenthood talking point dated before the neutrality clause was added and an undated note about the Illinois Medical Society’s opposition so we don’t know if the IMS would have opposed the legislation with the neutrality clause which was added by amendment in March of 2003.

    It’s not National Right to Life’s fault the Illinois Democrats are so paranoid about protecting abortion they can’t read, comprehend and accept common sense legislation. Only a fool could think the BAIPA with the neutrality clause it had in 2003 would effect abortion. Which is why no federal pro-choicers voted against the federal BAIPA which had the exact same neutrality clause as the amended 2003 Illinois BAIPA.

    The “smears” have been proven true. The only thing that has been proven false is Obama’s previous excuses for voting against providing basic rights to infants who survive abortions.

  • invalid-0


    didn’t you know, this is “RH – alternate reality check”…

  • invalid-0

    Thanks for making the changes you did – but I still think you owe an apology to Stanek and your readers. Stanek didn’t make a mistake in evaluating Obama’s voting record – she didn’t know what his record was.

    Perhaps Stanek should refrain from publicly opining without knowing what she is talking about.

  • invalid-0

    Should Obama refrain from public opining as well since he misrepresented what occurred (which is one reason Stanek and everyone else including the media wasn’t aware of the committee vote) for 4 years??

  • invalid-0

    You people have no morals, do you?

    Eric Zorn to Jill Stanek:

    “He (Scott Swenson) not only misunderstood what I wrote in the first place, but he misunderstood my confirmation to him.”

    So Swenson’s denseness apparently knows no bounds. To his credit, Zorn attempted to correct Swenson’s gross misrepresentation of my comment

    “That comment was to acknowledge to Zorn in an email that I – like Zorn and a thousand other bloggers, journalists, and authors – made “a mistake” when interpreting “Held in Health & Human Services” to mean then-chairman Obama held the Born Alive bill in his State Senate Health & Human Services Committee in 2003 without allowing it”

  • brady-swenson

    I misread Zorn, and acknowledged that less than two hours after posting yesterday with an edited version of my post, as you’ll find above. My apologies to you, the rest of our readers and to Zorn.

    However, this doesn’t change the fact that this line of attack that Stanek and the NRLC are still perpetiating is false.  The only fact that matters now is that the 2003 Illinois committee
    version of the bill did not sufficiently address the neutrality issue
    thus making the bill legally dissimilar to the 2002 federal version.  

    Oh, and the fact that no matter which way Obama voted — it was always absurd that Stanek,
    the National Right to Life Committee, and others even suggested that
    Obama would oppose a bill that would in any way improve the survival
    chances of infants.  "Born alive" bills have no medical validity.

  • invalid-0

    I just read the text of his comments in opposition to this bill when he first voted “Present” – is he is in favor of more humane treatment of the “fetus” until it dies – he states that they are “temporarilly alive outside the womb”. But, he goes on to say that this bill goes ” a little bit further” – and explains that the bill would “probably not survive constitutional scrutiny” He explains why #1 – he sees it as defining a “previable fetus as a person” and that would give them constitutional protection, when in fact, they were not a 9 month delivered to term child, and if the pre-term fetus could be called a person, then, all abortions could be banned. #2 – It would require the Dr to provide treatment to a previable fetus which he believed would place a burden on the physician.

    Draw your own conclusions, but is it breathing or not? Clearly, in Obama’s mind, if the intent was for an abortion, then no matter what happens, that should be the end result, the fetus is not viable because of the intent to abort preterm – whether it breathes or not.

    I’m being as objective as I can, but isn’t the point of the law if it takes a breath, it should be protected? Why is this so complicated? That’s what happens when lawyers get involved. Obama is wrong on this one big time, no wonder they are trying to confuse and backtrack. No matter what you believe about abortions, who can say a breathing infant
    should be allowed to die? I know lots of people that were born early and survived to live healthy and happy lives.

  • invalid-0

    Obama supporters are foolish to think that he will never betray them.
    Obama was a close friend of Pastor Wright for TWENTY YEARS.
    Obama threw Wright under the bus for personal ambition.
    McCain would not betray his country even after 5 years of torture.
    You can put lipstick on a traitor, but he’s still a traitor.

  • invalid-0

    The only statistics that I could find and the key word here is: VERIFIABLE.. are from the UK. I could not find one single statistic for Illinois in the last 50 years that can actually be verified…yes key word that in fact any case of “born-alive” infanticide. For that matter I cannot find any VERIFIABLE statistic except in the case of Hialeah, FL where the doctors were practicing without a license and deserve to be prosecuted the same as in any medical procedure. What I don’t understand is the far right’s amount of time, energy and blogging etc. without actually promoting adoption. That is a disgrace. You offer no solution to the already exsisting, living, breathing thousands of children in the US waiting in Foster Care. I never see any links to adoption agencies, or for prospective parents on how they can obtain grants to adopt. I’d love to see right to life donate $3,000 to every adoptive parent and family that completes an adoption. Every single family that adopts, instead of spending millions on lobbying, advertising and generally not accomplishing anything for the vast majority of children out there that need forever homes. Thousands of children. So Sad that the right to life is not the right to QUALITY OF LIFE.