Pro-Life Advocates Criticize Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Illinois Record

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 17, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Criticize Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Illinois Record

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 17
, 2007

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Senator Barack Obama, a Democrat who recently announced the start of an exploratory campaign committee for president, has compiled a pro-abortion record in Congress. However, pro-life advocates say his abortion advocacy goes further back to his time in the Illinois state legislature.

Obama has spent a scant two years in the Senate but served eight years at the Illinois capitol in Springfield.

During that time, Obama voted against a bill that received national attention and would protect babies born alive after botched abortions.

Before the vote, Jill Stanek, a Chicago-area nurse discovered that staff at the hospital where she worked were leaving newborn babies to die if they were not successfully killed during an abortion.

Aghast at the practice, state lawmakers proposed a bill to make sure babies received proper medical care and treatment following failed abortions.

As a lawmaker from the Windy City, Obama voted against the modest measure, claiming it would pose problems for the status of legalized abortion in general.

"It would essentially bar abortions because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this was a child then this would be an anti-abortion statute," Obama said during a state Senate debate in 2001, according to an AP report.

As a result of his consistent support for abortion — even voting against a measure to prohibit taxpayer funding of it — Obama received a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council.

As a national candidate with considerable media support but a largely unknown voting record, pro-life groups are likely to begin seizing on the vote and using it to show how Obama is out of the mainstream with most Americans.

Daniel McConchie, vice president and chief of staff of Americans United for Life, a national pro-life group based in Illinois, told AP that "Everyone’s going to use this and pound him over the head with it."

But Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs defended the vote and called pro-life criticism of it a "distortion."

"I don’t doubt that if you take a series of votes and twist them and kind of squint, you can write a narrative the way you want to write it," Gibbs said.

Obama eventually tried to counter the criticism of his vote on his own in 2004 when running for the Senate seat he currently occupies. He said he would have voted for a federal bill that accomplished similar goals as the Illinois legislation.

The then-candidate said it included language making sure legalized abortion wasn’t overturned and that was enough to get him to change his mind on the issue. However, he never had the opportunity to vote for the bill as Congress approved it and President Bush signed it into law before he took office.