Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Four Pinochios for Obama on infanticide . . . five years too late

With Barack Obama safely elected and re-elected as President of the United States, the Washington Post Fact Checker has finally gotten around to a serious examination of the question whether Obama opposed (as an Illinois state senator) legislation to deny legal protection to infants born alive after a failed attempt to kill them by abortion (or delivered with the intention of killing them in so-called "live-birth abortions").  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/did-obama-vote-to-deny-rights-to-infant-abortion-survivors/2012/09/07/9852895a-f87d-11e1-8398-0327ab83ab91_blog.html  Better late than never, I suppose---though in this case merely marginally so. The American people deserved to know the truth before making a decision about Barack Obama's fitness to serve as President. The media blackout of the question was not unlike what we have witnessed in recent days with the Gosnell infanticde trial. Yuval Levin and I did our best to get the facts out in our article "Obama and Infanticide," posted at Public Discourse in October of 2008:  http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2008/10/282/. We produced evidence to show that Obama's claim to have opposed the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act on the ground that it lacked "neutrality" language on the abortion question was false. He had in fact voted against the legislation despite the inclusion of "neutrality" language that had been insisted on by supporters of abortion who nevertheless were prepared to vote for legal protection for infants who were born alive.

So what does the Washington Post Fact Checker conclude? 

Are you ready?  Here goes:

"Obama swore during the 2008 election that he would have supported the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, prompting the National Right to Life Committee to issue a scathing white paper that pointed out how he had contradicted himself by voting against the Illinois measure while backing the older federal version in retrospect during his presidential campaign.

Obama denied any contradiction during an interview that year with the Christian Broadcasting Network, accusing the antiabortion committee of lying about the circumstances of his vote. Here’s what he said: “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.”

From what we can tell, Obama misrepresented the facts during this interview. The 2003 bill addressed his concerns about undermining Roe v. Wade, and it matched the federal legislation that he supported virtually word for word. PolitiFact determined that the claim about a neutrality clause in the federal legislation was True. FactCheck.org said “Obama’s claim [about the committee lying] is wrong.”

For what it’s worth, The Fact Checker in 2008 appears to have overlooked the neutrality clause while awarding Two Pinocchios in a column that examined a separate claim from then-GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin . . . .

The evidence suggests we could have awarded Four Pinocchios to the former Illinois senator for his comments to the Christian Broadcasting Network, but that interview is several years old now, and it’s not the focus of this particular column. The president’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the matter of whether Obama’s 2008 comments on the Christian Broadcasting Network contradicted his 2003 vote against Illinois’s Born-Alive Infants Protection bill."

Four Pinocchios. Five years too late.


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