Obama misleads again on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act

During Wednesday’s debate, Obama said this in an attempt to explain his vote against the Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

Yes, let me respond to this. If it sounds incredible that I would vote to withhold lifesaving treatment from an infant, that’s because it’s not true. The — here are the facts.
There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade. The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment, which is why not only myself but pro-choice Republicans and Democrats voted against it.

We have been over this. His rationale at the time was that the bill would have violated Roe v. Wade. Factcheck.org noted that the bill he said he would have supported as a federal Senator was identical to the one he voted against as a state senator. Let me add this article recently published at the Catholic Exhange.

Freedom of Choice versus Born Alive: Critical questions for an Obama administration.
In a presidential campaign issues arise and then fade from view. The emergence of new media preoccupations may make it seem as though yesterday’s controversy has been resolved. This is rarely true.
Such is the case with the issue of Barack Obama’s position on legal protections for infants while an Illinois state senator. In a nutshell, the controversy comes down to a claim from Senator Obama that he would have favored the bill in the U.S. Senate that he opposed while he was an Illinois state senator. More specifically, at issue is the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA), which gave “human” legal status to infants born alive accidentally following an abortion. The federal version of the bill passed the U.S. Congress easily, with abortion-rights supporters like Hillary Clinton in the Senate and Jerald Nadler in the House voting in favor. After Obama left the Illinois Senate to run for the U.S. Senate, the Illinois version of the bill flew through that body 52-0. The bill, both the federal and state version, passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate and Illinois Senate, both in Obama’s absence.
During his term in the Illinois Senate, Obama opposed the bill, saying repeatedly that he did so because the state bill was worded differently than the federal bill. However, as noted by Factcheck.org and other sources, the bills were identical. As a committee chair, Obama did not allow the bill to get to the Senate floor, yet he said he would have voted in favor of the same bill had he been in the U.S. Senate. After Obama’s campaign admitted that Senator Obama was mistaken, it provided another rationale for his opposition, telling the New York Sun:

… 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.

Versions of this explanation persist. During the Republican National Convention coverage, Alan Colmes of “Hannity and Colmes” said that the reason Barack Obama voted against the Illinois bill was because it conflicted with an existing Illinois law.
I submit that the Obama campaign’s explanation was a dodge. Look again at the campaign’s explanation: Obama says he would be unconcerned about voting for a federal bill giving human rights to born-alive infants of questionable viability because “the legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law” and “there is no federal abortion law.”
First, his campaign claimed there was a state abortion law which influenced his vote. I have asked the campaign to identify the law but have received no clarification.
Second, the campaign’s explanation ignores the fact that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. When he was a state senator, Obama opposed BAIPA on constitutional grounds and claimed the legislation violated Roe v. Wade. Given this rationale, he should not have claimed support for the federal version with the exact same language and intent.
The strongest strike against the campaign’s rationale is this: Obama wants to create federal abortion law in the form of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) which would prohibit protection of “previable fetuses.” The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama says would be a top legislative priority, says the government may not regulate abortion if such regulations contradict the following policy:

It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.

Recall that the Obama Doctrine of infant rights requires viability even if the baby has been born. In 2001, Obama said BAIPA was “an antiabortion statute” in violation of Roe v. Wade. He now says that his support of the federal BAIPA hinged on the absence of federal abortion law. It appears to me that Senator Obama has painted himself into a corner. Obama’s stated support for federal protection of infants who survive abortion is rendered moot by his support for the FOCA. If FOCA becomes law, then the rationale for supporting BAIPA disappears.
What happens in an Obama administration when there is a federal abortion statute in the form of FOCA which prohibits antiabortion statutes?
My pay grade is not as high a U.S. Senator, but I think I know the answer.

Factcheck.org on Obama's opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act

Abortion may be the most troubling issue Barack Obama has faced in his bid to lure Evangelical voters to his campaign. Extremely controversial is Obama’s handling of questions surrounding the federal and IL state versions of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA).
This Newsweek article excerpts Factcheck.org’s examination of the controversy. Here is the thumbnail version:

We find that, as the NRLC said in a recent statement, Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus, according to an undisputed summary written immediately after the committee’s 2003 mark-up session.

It appears that Obama did not believe living, possibly pre-viable infants had legal status as persons. It is unclear to me what he believes now. His campaign’s most recent explanation involves an argument that suggests a vote against BAIPA at the state level was necessary to protect Roe v. Wade but a vote in favor at the federal level would have no bearing on RvW. I do not understand this reasoning.
I suppose another way to frame the issue is to ask when is an abortion complete? If the fetus is delivered and is alive but of questionable viability, how do we regard this life? The Obama doctrine appears to be that an infant born alive but of questionable viability is not a legal person – or at least this was his view while an IL Senator. Here is a speech on the 2001 Senate floor:

Obama, Senate floor, 2001: Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – a child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute.

Rick Warren at the Saddleback Civil Forum asked Sen. Obama when a baby is entitled to human rights and Obama said such answers are above his pay grade. From a reading of this material, making these determinations was at his pay grade at one time not long ago. Simply saying he favors the federal bill now really does not address what protection he now believes should be afforded these infants.