In an interview with David Brody of CBN on Saturday, Barack Obama leveled a startling charge at the National Right to Life Committee.
Brody brought up the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, noting "there was some literature put out by the National Right to Life Committee. And they're basically saying they felt like you misrepresented your position on that bill."
"Let me clarify this right now," said Obama.
"Because it's getting a lot of play," said Brody.
"Well, and because they have not been telling the truth," said Obama. "And I hate to say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported -- which was to say -- that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born -- even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade."
The federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act sought to protect babies who survived late-term "induced labor abortions." The act said a born baby -- living outside her mothers' womb -- would be treated like a "person."
U.S. Senate Democrats unanimously supported the act because it included language they said prevented it from having any impact on Roe v. Wade. President Bush signed the bill in 2002.
In January, I reported in this column that Obama opposed an Illinois state version of the Born Alive Infant bill in 2001, 2002 and 2003. But I initially got one thing wrong.
I reported that in 2003 the bill was assigned to the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which Obama then chaired, along with an amendment that added -- word for word -- the federal language Democrats said protected Roe. Both the bill and the amendment were sponsored by then-Sen. Richard Winkel, now an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois College of Law.
Relying primarily on the Illinois Senate's online bill tracking system, which says the bill was "held" in Obama's committee, I initially reported that Obama had not allowed the bill and amendment to come up for a vote.
After that column was released, I discovered this was wrong. Obama did call a vote on Winkel's bill and amendment.
To correct the record, I wrote a second column, citing former Sen. Winkel and Sen. Dale Righter, who was the ranking Republican on Obama's committee.
"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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