The title of Ramesh Ponnuru’s excellent post today captures a powerful truth–“Obama and Infanticide: The media still insist on defending his votes in favor of infanticide.” We will quote at length from his analysis, but it is very much worth reading in full at National Review Online.
Mr. Obama and those who defend his actions as a state Senator have offered a number of explanations for his opposition to a bill in Illinois that would have provided legal protection to babies who survived abortion. For example, as Ponnuru explains, “They said he opposed it because the law lacked a clause clarifying that it did not protect fetuses within the womb. In fact Obama opposed a version of the bill that contained one (not that there was ever any need for it).”
“His [Obama’s] point, to paraphrase it, was that granting legal protections to a pre-viable child was logically incompatible with Roe. He was wrong to predict the courts would see it that way: No court has struck down the type of legislation Illinois was considering; there is now a federal law on the books that is nearly identical to it. The Court’s jurisprudence makes the location of the developing human being — inside or outside the womb — decisive for whether it has a right to life, and not just its stage of development. (That’s one reason pro-lifers made partial-birth abortion an issue: to establish that a child partway out of the womb would be protected.)”
State Senator Obama raised a related objection to protections for pre-viable infants born alive (in commenting on a different piece of legislation), according to Ponnuru: “Granting them protection by requiring that a second doctor be present to treat any born-alive infant would ‘burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.’ Legal protection for these infants, in addition to being wrong on principle, would inhibit abortion.”
In 2008 National Right to Life carefully documented Obama’s actions while a state Senator, but the media shield was impermeable. Surely, we were told, no one could seriously believe Obama would support the right to infanticide.
The issue has resurfaced again because pro-lifers refuse to allow the truth to stay buried. And that is that Obama (in Ponnuru’s words) “believed that certain infants — those at an early stage of development — should not have legal protection, and he believed it because he thought it would undermine the right to abortion.”
Having established Obama’s real position while a state Senator, Ponnuru spends a lot of time carefully dissecting the conclusions of the Washington Post’s Josh Hicks who “fact-checked” an ad by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. (You can read the analysis in its entirety at www.nationalreview.com/articles/316590/obama-and-infanticide-ramesh-ponnuru.)
In general Hicks imputes positions to Obama he didn’t express, for example (as Ponnuru writes) “At no point does he [Obama] suggest that it would be okay to provide legal protection to pre-viable infants who survive abortions. That’s because he opposed such protection.”
And Hicks is determined to put the worst construction on comments made in the ad by abortion survivor Melissa Ohden and former Governor Mike Huckabee while giving Mr. Obama the benefit of the doubt (even when there isn’t any) —and more.
For instance, Hicks quotes Huckabee saying, “Obama “believes that human life is disposable and expendable . . . even beyond the womb.” Besides concluding it’s all so confusing to say anything definitively, Hicks announces “Nonetheless, we find it hard to fathom that the former senator expressed a belief that human life is disposable outside the womb.”
Yes, it would be, if it weren’t for that pesky record. As Ponnuru explains, “Huckabee was right: Obama did believe that at least some human lives, ‘even beyond the womb,’ are ‘disposable and expendable.’ He believed that for the law to treat them otherwise would be wrong. Whatever Hicks can or cannot fathom, Obama expressed that view both in his words and in his votes.”
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Ponnuru concludes by damning with faint praise:
“Hicks deserves credit, however, for noting that Obama has made false statements about his record on this issue. He even says that if he were grading his 2008 comments today, he would give him four Pinocchios. That’s an improvement over the Post’s performance in 2008, when it was the worst of a bad lot of ’fact-checkers.’ Perhaps when Obama’s third memoir comes out, the Post will finally be ready to admit that Obama supported a right to infanticide for pre-viable infants, and pro-lifers had it right all along.”
NRLC’s website contains definitive documentation on this issue, much of which is distilled in a comprehensive “white paper” written by NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and Senior Legislative Counsel Susan T. Muskett in August, 2008, which is here: http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/WhitePaperAugust282008.html
LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in his Natioanl Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.