Obama born alive controversy

From OpenCongress Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Substantial controversy has surrounded Barack Obama's voting record on Abortion since 2004, when Alan Keyes, his opponent for the U.S. Senate, made Obama's record central to his campaign. Since then, Jill Stanek, a central witness before Congress, whose moving testimony led to passage of the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act, has been the primary critic of Obama's voting record on the issue. The votes are especially controversial because they fall outside the typical Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice debate, dealing not with Abortion, but children left to die after botched abortions. From 1996-2003, Barack Obama made at least 7 controversial votes against bills mandating medical care for newborn children after late-term, botched abortions known as D&E procedures. In 2002 the Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act made it a U.S. crime to let children die like this, and the 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed outlawing the specific D&E procedures making them possible, even declaring this to be "Infanticide" in Section 2, 14(G) and 14(O).[1] The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act had 70% public approval by the time of its passage[2] (a 2011 poll shows 64% support[3]) yet the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was far more popular, to the extent that in Obama's own words, it was "the federal bill that everybody supported."[4]

The Born Alive Infant Protection Act passed the U.S. Senate unanimously. Even normally Pro-Choice Democrats like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Boxer voted for the Born Alive Infant Protection Act[5] - even as Obama was voting down an identical bill in the Illinois State Senate. Obama has attempted since 2004 to explain away his votes, variously calling critics liars, saying the bills he voted against were dissimilar from the federal bill everybody supported (a lie that was debunked in 2008 by a CNN expose resulting in an Obama campaign admission that he misspoke), and saying the Illinois law was already sufficient to protect newborn infants. Obama's "Fight the Smears" site striving to deny his votes on the bills has since vanished from the web or it would be quoted.

The issue featured prominently in the 2008 presidential election as well, with both Sarah Palin and John McCain raising the issue, and major press coverage by CNN and other news media reporting on the controversy. Obama ultimately voted 'Present' or 'No' on 7 of the 'Born Alive' bills:

  • SB 1082 (2003 Born Alive Infant Defined Act)[6]
  • SB 1661 (2002 Induced Birth Infant Liability Act)[7][8]
  • SB 1662 (2002)[9]
  • SB 1093 (2001 Born Alive Infants Protection Act)[10][11]
  • SB 1094 (2001 Induced Birth Infant Liability Act)[12][13]
  • SB 1095 (2001 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act)[14][15][16][17]
  • SB 230 (1997 Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act)[18][19]


1996-2003 Illinois Senate Transcripts

The following are quotes from Barack Obama himself on the controversial bills at the time, that would later cause such controversy, and which have been repeatedly quoted from in the press:

Transcript, Born Alive Infants Protection Act

March 30, 2001. Pages 84-88 of Illinois Senate Transcript at ILGA.gov.[20] [21]

"Senator O'Malley, the testimony during the committee indicated that one of the key concerns was - is that there was a method of abortion, an induced abortion, where the -- the fetus or child, as - as some might describe it, is still temporarily alive outside the womb. And one of the concerns that came out in the testimony was the fact that they were not being properly cared for during that brief period of time that they were still living. Is that correct?" "