Obama not only argued against the Illinois bill banning infanticide in 2002, he impugned the character of those who told the truth about it, six years later. In 2008, the National Right to Life Committee pointed out that Obama was being inconsistent in defending his vote against the Illinois born-alive measure while backing the federal version, because they were virtually the same bill word for word. Many voices on the right argued this point but were ignored by the media. Obama called the National Right to Life Committee liars. The MSM let him get away with it.
Illinois lawmakers voted down identical versions of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2001 and 2002 before a new iteration of the bill came before the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, headed by Obama. This new legislation removed the controversial line about recognizing live-born children as humans and giving them immediate protection under the law. It also addressed Obama’s concern about previable fetuses, adding a “neutrality clause” that said the measure would not affect the legal status of fetuses prior to delivery.
Nonetheless, Obama voted against the new bill, which happened to be an almost exact replica — almost to the word — of a federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act that passed in 2002 without opposition in either political party. (Updated: The vote in the House was by voice vote and the vote in the Senate was by unanimous consent.)
Obama swore during the 2008 election that he would have supported the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, prompting the National Right to Life Committee to issue a scathing white paper that pointed out how he had contradicted himself by voting against the Illinois measure while backing the older federal version in retrospect during his presidential campaign.
Obama denied any contradiction during an interview that year with the Christian Broadcasting Network, accusing the antiabortion committee of lying about the circumstances of his vote. Here’s what he said:
“I hate to say that people are lying, but here’s a situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported — which was to say — that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born — even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade.”
From what we can tell, Obama misrepresented the facts during this interview. The 2003 bill addressed his concerns about undermining Roe v. Wade, and it matched the federal legislation that he supported virtually word for word.
PolitiFact determined that the claim about a neutrality clause in the federal legislation was True. FactCheck.org said “Obama’s claim [about the committee lying] is wrong.”
For what it’s worth, The Fact Checker in 2008 appears to have overlooked the neutrality clause while awarding Two Pinocchios in a column that examined a separate claim from then-GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. However, that oversight wouldn’t have affected Palin’s rating, because her claim was different — closer to the claim from Huckabee.
The evidence suggests we could have awarded Four Pinocchios to the former Illinois senator for his comments to the Christian Broadcasting Network, but that interview is several years old now, and it’s not the focus of this particular column.
The president’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the matter of whether Obama’s 2008 comments on the Christian Broadcasting Network contradicted his 2003 vote against Illinois’s Born-Alive Infants Protection bill.