"I just read a copy of the Illinois Republican Staff analysis on SB 1082 (93rd General Assembly) and, contrary to the bill status report on the Illinois General Assembly Website, it shows the bill -- as amended -- was in fact called for a vote in committee on a motion to recommend the bill for passage to the whole Senate," Winkel wrote me in an email. "That motion failed 4-6-0 along party lines, and the chairman, then state Sen. Barack Obama, voted no. The result is that the bill died in the committee."
What about the comparison between this Illinois bill and the federal bill? "The amendment made my bill the same as the federal bill," Winkel told me.
Righter backed Winkel up. "I have full faith and confidence in what our files show absolutely," he told me in an interview.
That full faith and confidence was vindicated last week by records made public by the National Right to Life Committee. Its Website posted copies of both the "Illinois Republican Staff Analysis" to which Winkel and Righter referred and the relevant "Senate Committee Action Report" of Obama's Health and Human Services Committee.
Both show that in March 2003, Obama's committee unanimously approved Winkel's amendment to make his bill the same as the federal bill. (This vote, Republicans tell me, is a procedural courtesy Illinois Senate committees often extend to a bill's sponsor.) The committee then voted 4 to 6 to defeat the bill as amended. Obama voted no.
As noted in the materials the National Right to Life Committee posted on its Website, this record seems to contradict what Obama told the Chicago Tribune when he ran for the Senate in 2004.
"... Obama said that had he been in the U.S. Senate two years ago, he would have voted for the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, even though he voted against a state version of the proposal," the Tribune reported on Oct. 4, 2004. "The difference between the state and federal versions, Obama explained, was that the state measure lacked the federal language clarifying that the act would not be used to undermine Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that legalized abortion."
In January, when I wrote about Obama's 2003 committee vote against Winkel's bill, Obama's campaign press office did not respond to my repeated requests for comment. This week, it did.
The campaign does not contest that in 2003 Obama voted against a bill in his committee that was substantially identical to the federal bill. His position, the campaign says, was that the same legislative language could have had a different consequence on the Illinois state level, where there were abortion laws that might be affected, than on the federal level, where there were not abortion laws.
Pro-abortion absolutists should be pleased with Obama. There has never been a presidential candidate more demonstrably committed to their deadly cause.
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