by Steven Ertelt
January 17, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Hillary Clinton has pressed Barack Obama on the issue of abortion — not because he’s pro-life but because he voted "present" on several bills in the Illinois legislature regarding abortion. Clinton claims those votes weaken Obama’s pro-abortion views, but she may be exercising a small measure of hypocrisy in her attacks.
One of the bills Obama voted present on was a measure that would protect newborn infants who survive a botched abortion procedure.
The measure, which came about after Chicago-area nurse Jill Stanek discovered that babies were left to die after failed abortions, was similar to a national version that President Bush signed into law in 2002.
While Obama declined to support the Illinois bill, Clinton joined 96 other senators in a near-unanimous vote for the national Born Alive Infants Protection Act. As a result, Clinton is criticizing Obama for voting present on a pro-life bill that she supported on a national level.
In an interview with the New York Sun, Stanek pointed out the hypocrisy.
"Clinton is being so audacious trying to claim that Obama is less pro-choice when on the very same bill she voted pro-life," Stanek said. "It’s just astounding."
But Clinton campaign spokesman Blake Zeff told the newspaper that the two bills have an important distinction. The national version contained language ensuring that nothing in the bill would overturn Roe v. Wade — which prompted some leading pro-abortion groups to take no position on it.
The Illinois bill didn’t contain the same language, Zeff said, making it more of a concern and making it more important for Obama to vote against it.
"Senator Clinton backed a bill that had specific protections for Roe v. Wade. Senator Obama voted present on a bill that had no protections for Roe," Zeff told the Sun. "That’s a rather significant difference."
However, on her blog, Stanek points out that both bills were orginally identical and that Obama’s camp isn’t giving the full picture.
"And here is where Obama is lying," Stanek writes. "The Illinois born alive sponsor tried to amend it" to add the similar language about the bill not trumping Roe so it could remain constitution and get support from the Illinois legislature.
"Obama, as chairman of the committee hearing the bill, stopped him and killed the bill," Stanek explained. "In other words, Obama purposefully obstructed the Illinois version from being the same as the federal version."
Obama, himself, has said he would have voted for the federal version had he been a senator at the time, but Stanek doesn’t buy it.
"He is lying when he says he would have supported the federal version," she said. "He prevented that."
At the end of the day, both senators are strongly pro-abortion and both have drawn strong opposition from pro-life groups — but Obama’s actions appare to make him the more pro-abortion of the two.