Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and a leading pro-life organization have accused each other of lying about his reasons for leading the fight against an anti-infanticide bill in the
The day after the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) was “lying” about his record, however, his campaign was forced to concede the NRLC's charge was accurate.
Obama's campaign has in essence admitted the candidate has misled the public for years on a hot-button social issue, but Big Media has virtually ignored the story.
Obama's opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) has been a major problem for his political campaigns since 2004, when his opponent in the U.S. Senate race accused him of supporting infanticide. BAIPA would have required hospitals to provide care to infants that survived an abortion attempt, rather than withhold treatment and allow them to die.
Most such cases involve an abortion procedure in which labor is induced prematurely. The infants are expected to be killed by their own mothers' contractions, but a few survive the birthing process. The lungs of the survivors usually are not mature enough to sustain life, so the babies need immediate medical intervention. Many
Why would anybody oppose such a bill? According to CNSNews editor Terence Jeffrey, Obama opposed it because it would have defined a baby that survived an abortion procedure as a person: “Defining a 'pre-viable fetus' that survived an abortion as a 'person,' he argued, 'would essentially bar abortions.…'”
In 2002 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a federal version of BAIPA with a “neutrality clause” stating the bill did not affect the legal status of “the species homo sapiens prior to being 'born alive.'” Even the radically pro-abortion organization NARAL withdrew its opposition. Since 2004, Obama has said he would have supported the Illinois BAIPA if the state version of the bill had included “Roe-neutral” language found in the federal version. Has he been telling the truth?
Not according to NRLC. Last week, NRLC produced
In an interview following Saturday's
On Sunday, however, Obama's campaign staff conceded to The New York Sun that Obama “had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate.” The staff tacitly admitted that Obama has been misleading the public since 2004.
Big Media has been ignoring the BAIPA story for months; the essential facts were reported by Jeffrey as early as January. This weekend, Obama put the story on the national radar screen by publicly accusing the NRLC of “lying.” His campaign staff's subsequent admission that NRLC was correct – calling into question Obama's reasons for opposing a bill that would have prevented infanticide – has created a story screaming for attention.
How could a
As of this writing, stony silence.
[Update: on Wednesday, August 20, The New York Times and The Washington Post both ran related stories. The Post buried the issue at the bottom of a lengthy Page 1 story titled “Candidates' Abortion Views Not So Simple,” with the relevant paragraphs appearing on page 6. The Times buried its story, “Obama's 2003 Stand on Abortion Draws New Criticism in 2008,” on page 18.]