Obama’s failure to support bill unacceptable

By Bethany Reinhart

On Aug. 5, 2002, legislation known as the Born Alive Infants Protection Act was signed into law. The bill was unanimously accepted by the Senate. Even liberal senators Edward Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and Dick Durbin supported the legislation. Now-presidential candidate Sen. Jon McCain also voted in favor of the bill. The purpose of the law is to ensure medical care for babies who survive abortion and are “born alive.”

Despite the unanimous vote in the Senate, then state Sen. Barack Obama, at the same time, repeatedly voted against similar legislation in the Illinois Senate. Obama’s failure to sign this bill, especially when his liberal constituents voted in its favor, is deplorable.

Obama’s voting record on this has recently resurfaced because a 31-year-old abortion survivor has decided to speak out. Obama responded by claiming he opposed the bill because he was trying to protect the legality of Roe v. Wade. Yet the bill never endangered Roe. In fact, this legislation had nothing to do with the act of abortion.

A “born alive” child is an abortion survivor, who is unexpectedly delivered alive. Children “born alive” are usually products of failed late-term abortions. One common late-term abortion method is the saline abortion which involves injecting a caustic saline solution into the amniotic fluid. This normally scalds the fetus to death and causes it to be dead upon delivery. However, many children have lived through this form of abortion and are delivered alive.

The decision to create legislation to protect abortion survivors came after disturbing practices were revealed around the country. Prior to the legislations, it was commonplace for abortionists to strangle, suffocate or discard babies who were born alive, according to Jill Stanek, a registered labor and delivery nurse. Stanek was working in the Labor and Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., when she discovered such practices. According to Stanek, “Babies were being aborted alive and shelved to die in the soiled utility room.”

Strangling, suffocating or discarding a live baby is, without question, murder. And even armed with that knowledge, Obama failed to vote in favor of legislation that would protect born-alive babies from murder.

As a state senator, Obama, through his own vote, proved he leans even farther to the left than liberal senators Kennedy and Clinton, and he is even more pro-choice than NARAL Pro-Choice America. In response to the federal legislation, NARAL issued a statement that said, “Consistent with our position last year, NARAL does not oppose the passage of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.”

The same year that federal legislation was unanimously passed, similar legislation was presented in the Illinois Senate. But in Illinois, the legislation did not meet the same united front seen in Washington, D.C. Instead, the bill was voted against by Obama. In fact, Obama voted against the bill on four separate occasions from 2001 to 2003.

On March 28, 2001, Obama, for the first time, voted against the Born Alive Infants Protections Act. On March 30, 2001, he spoke against the bill on the Senate floor, saying the bill did not properly protect the legality of Roe v. Wade. This reasoning was ridiculous, as the bill had nothing to do with Roe v. Wade.

In 2002, the bill was reintroduced. Obama voted against the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee-a committee he chaired-and again on the Senate floor.

In 2003, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was reintroduced once more. This time the bill was amended to include the same exact wording as the unanimously passed federal version. The wording was added to clearly protect the legality of Roe v. Wade.

After hearing the amended bill, which said, “A live child, born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law,” Obama yet again voted against the bill for the fourth and final time.

Obama maintains the position that he voted against the bill in an attempt to protect Roe v. Wade. But even pro-choice supporters agree Roe was never in jeopardy. The legislation, as presented in each form, had nothing to do with Roe v. Wade. But it had everything to do with protecting the life of any child who survived an attempt on its life, in the form of an abortion.

Obama has been clear in his support of women’s rights. But he cannot hide behind Roe v. Wade and women’s rights to defend his failure to protect innocent children. The claim that he was concerned about a woman’s right to do with her body what she wishes is a noble thought. But what about the rights of the babies -not fetuses-who are born alive? Many of those babies have grown into beautiful adults, who are now asking, what about my rights? Many question how Obama could deny them the right to immediate medical care after having unexpectedly survived an abortion.

Obama has worked to spread the message of hope to millions of Americans. But where is the hope for infants who survive abortions and are then killed or left to die? It is not a hopeful day in America, but rather a very sad one, when legislators like Obama fail to protect the most innocent American voices-voices of babies who were born alive and left to die.