The Extreme Abortion Views Of Obama

David Freddoso writing in the National Review reports

On March 30, 2001, Obama was the only senator to speak in opposition to a bill that would have banned the practice of leaving premature abortion survivors to die. The bill, SB 1095, was carefully limited, its language unambiguous. It applied only to premature babies, already born alive. It stated simply that under Illinois law, “the words ‘person,’ ‘human being,’ ‘child,’ and ‘individual’ include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.”

Two related bills introduced that day included slightly more controversial provisions about liability and medical procedure, but SB 1095 did not go nearly that far. This bill did not apply to those not born, nor did it grant born persons anything beyond recognition of their rights as persons.

Under this bill, SB 1095, babies born alive during an abortion would have to be treated just like every other baby that is born alive and prematurely — not left to die as at Christ Hospital, but given treatment according to an acting physician’s medical judgment as to what is necessary and what is possible — the same standard that applies to any other human being.

There was no legal conflict between this bill and the right to legal abortion, but Barack Obama was still uneasy with the idea. He and 11 other senators would vote “present” in a strategy worked out with Planned Parenthood lobbyists (“present” votes in the Illinois senate essentially count as “no” votes). The bill would pass the Senate easily with a bipartisan majority, only to die in a House committee.

The full article can be found here.

11 Responses to “The Extreme Abortion Views Of Obama”


  • Obama’s concern – for those who are interested – was that this law would grant citizenship to an aborted fetus (not necessarily even late-term) that showed any sign of life as it was removed from the womb. In affect, Obama felt that this granting of citizenship to fetuses could ultimately lead to the banning of all abortion. You can read the argument he made here
    on page 83.

    I am not a lawyer, but my general impression is that Obama was incorrect, and he probably should have voted “yes”. That having been said, my assumption is that Obama was voting out of a genuine concern and acting in good faith to protect abortion rights. Which I have no problem with. In other words, I will not find the inevitable cries of “Obama is in favor of infanticide” to be particularly persuasive, although I think he did not demonstrate perfect judgment in this case.

  • Which still shows to what extent he would go to support abortion – again, allowing newborn premature infants to die.

  • You’re right, of course. In the same sense that those who supported the war in Iraq were willing to see innocent Iraqis killed by cluster-bombs. Even though it’s technically correct, it’s not an argument I will ever choose to make.

  • Thats not a proper analogy.

    The direct purpose of this bill is to save the lives of newborn premature infants…he chose not to sign the bill, regardless of what he was afraid might result because of the bill.

    It’s like a bill coming through congress stating that army personal should do everything in their power to not kill innocent lives in Iraq…and say, John McCain refusing to sign it because of the impact on the Iraq War. Now that’s a proper analogy.

  • Yes, my analogy was imperfect, but so is yours.

    The best analogy is: A bill comes through Congress stating that army personnel are legally required to not kill innocent lives in Iraq, and John McCain refuses to sign it. As he should. While the direct purpose of the bill is indisputably to save innocent lives, the practical implications would be to gut the war effort completely. There’s no doubt in my mind that McCain would not support such a bill.

  • Hmmm…were getting closer but still not there.

    Remember, the born alive infant protection act has no side effects…aside from slippery slope arguments. What Obama was (presumably) afraid of is what the slippery slope argument would be from this bill.

    That is not the case with the analogy you give. The legal requirement would be so stringent that its direct effect would be to gut the war effort completely…as you cant guarantee that no innocent lives will be lost.

    A better analogy would be: A bill comes through Congress stating that army personnel are legally required to not intentionally kill innocent lives in Iraq, and John McCain refuses to sign it.

    Drop a bomb intended to kill Osama Bin Laden and a large number of his supporters and the bomb accidentally kills some innocent people and you can get legally prosecuted by your bill…but not by mine.

  • Yes, I think we have a good analogy at this point. Thanks!

    So, if McCain chose not to sign such a bill on the grounds that lawyers might interpret the word “intentionally” in such a way as to gut the war effort, I would respectfully disagree with his assessment (as I disagree with Obama’s), but I would certainly not make the claim that McCain is a bloodthirsty killer who has complete disregard for Iraqi lives (much as I don’t believe that Obama disregards the lives of the babies in question).

  • Wow, I’m getting goosebumps from the intensity of this debate.

    I’m a little confused…in the first paragraph David Freddoso writes that Barack Obama was the only State Senator to vote present, but in the last paragraph he writes that Obama voted “present” with 11 other Senators. Or was it that he was the only Senator offered testimony in opposition to the bill, and his 11 like-minded colleagues stayed silent?

    This bill is ridiculously impossible to enforce and is as effective as a flag-burning ban. Assuming that the bill would have provided penalties for a doctor who allowed a born alive aborted fetus to die, who would tell the authorities? The doctor who wants the baby to die or the patient who wants the baby to die? No one in the operating room would snitch to the cops if the fetus was still alive as it was being ripped out of the womb.

    And what if the doctor insists on not allowing the aborted fetus to die but the patient insists on doing so? Also, the medical insurance is paying for an abortion, not a delivery, which is probably more expensive. If the patient cared so much about the fetus dying, she wouldn’t be in the abortion clinic in the first place.

    There are so many reasons for doctor and patient to allow the fetus to die, with the law being the only reason to keep it alive.

    Obama should’ve used some judgment in this case and just voted yes on the bill, knowing it has absolutely no teeth anyway.

  • I disagree – making it illegal changes everything.

    Doctors, nurses, and even patients, now have a HUGE incentive to behave differently if the unborn child is born. Any attempt otherwise could result in doctors and nurses to lose their license – a terrifying thought to nurses and doctors, and something they would not risk over a cost they do not directly bare.

  • I’m a little confused…in the first paragraph David Freddoso writes that Barack Obama was the only State Senator to vote present, but in the last paragraph he writes that Obama voted “present” with 11 other Senators. Or was it that he was the only Senator offered testimony in opposition to the bill, and his 11 like-minded colleagues stayed silent?

    There were 11 Senators that voted “present”, which as Freddoso accurately states, was effectively a “no” vote. Freddoso, however, wants us to believe that Obama was extraordinarily “extreme” in opposing the bill, for that reason he neglects to mention that several Senators also voted a flat “No”, thereby positioning themselves quite clearly more “pro-abortion” than Obama. For the same (disingenuous) reason, Freddoso emphasizes that only Obama spoke against the bill, but the reason only Obama spoke against the bill was that previous, similar bills had already been discussed at length and, as I recall, Obama had a position of leadership on the state Health and Human Services Committee – and was, therefore, expected to comment.

  • Obama, on this subject here.

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