Barack & Abortion: Naive, or Worse?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Aug 21, 2008 3:35 PM
Barack Obama's health care plan moves America toward socialized medicine, with the attendant burdens and bureaucracies.

How interesting it is, then, to learn that there's a piece of red tape that Barack historically opposed.  But how disappointing that it's at the expense of a possibly living baby.

Debating the Born Alive Infant Protection Act on April 4, 2002 (transcript here), on pages 32-33, Barack seems primarily concerned with the inconvenience to the abortionist of having to call in another doctor to make sure that a baby who was supposed to be dead as a result of the abortion wasn't able to be saved.  (HT: Erick Erickson at RedState).

In Barack's view, it's apparently inconceivable (no pun intended) that a doctor who is willing to perform an abortion wouldn't do anything in his power to save a baby that was alive as a result of his own mistake.  In Barack's words, "if there are children who are being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to be sure that they are being looked after" (transcript, pp. 33-34).

Hm.  Naive, or worse?  As a lawyer, surely Barack knew that Illinois law permits claims for "wrongful life" (see footnote 10 in link) -- in other words, a doctor who botched an abortion (by failing to end the baby's life) could be liable in a lawsuit. 

It's no surprise that Illinois would permit such a claim -- in many ways, it's a plaintiff lawyer's paradise.  But it strikes me that it would be one more reason that a second opinion would make sense -- it's not a great idea to leave all determinations about a baby's viability in the hands of the doctor who was supposed to have executed the abortion.