For the first time in this presidential cycle, social issues such as abortion took center stage this past week courtesy of the candidates’ high-profile, back-to-back interviews at a mega-church last weekend.
Yet the mainstream media only days later is starting to address what might be the biggest story in this frame: Barack Obama—whether knowingly or not—lied about a controversial abortion vote he made in the Illinois Senate in 2003.
After his nationally-televised interview with Pastor Rick Warren on Saturday night in Orange County, Calif., Barack Obama sat down with Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody and went on the attack against pro-life activists, whom he said were “lying” about his vote to kill a bill protecting babies born alive following botched abortions.
At issue is an Illinois bill in 2003 called the Born Alive Infants Protection Act that Obama voted against, which was modeled on federal legislation enacted the previous year declaring that in failed abortions resulting in a live birth, the baby must be given normal medical treatment. This was in response to a gruesome practice whereby abortions involving induced labor were resulting in unintended live births—and those infants were simply being left to die. By 2003, it already had passed the U.S. Senate without any dissent.
Obama contended that he “would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported,” but that he voted against the 2003 Illinois bill because “that was not the bill that was presented at the state level.”
Except that it was.
As it turns out—and as even Obama’s campaign admitted Monday to the New York Sun—the National Right to Life Committee wasn’t lying; Obama was. The specific difference cited by Obama in the CBN interview was that the Illinois bill didn’t contain the federal legislation’s language explicitly stating that it would not “undermine Roe vs. Wade.” (This was not merely off-the-cuff, as the campaign had issued a written statement to CNN in June offering the same rationale.)
Not only did the bill contain the exact provision from the federal bill, but Obama voted in favor of adding it as an amendment. After the state bill was changed to be almost identical to the unanimously-passed federal law, Obama voted against it.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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