“First, they won’t call it “infanticide” (killing infants) but “post-birth abortion”. The reasons are obvious.”
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE www.nationalreview.com
|Why Obama Really Voted For Infanticide
There wasn’t any question about what was happening. The abortions were going wrong. The babies weren’t cooperating. They wouldn’t die as planned. Or, as Illinois state senator Barack Obama so touchingly put it, there was “movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead.”
No, Senator. They wouldn’t go along with the program. They wouldn’t just come out limp and dead.
They were coming out alive. Born alive. Babies. Vulnerable human beings Obama, in his detached pomposity, might otherwise include among “the least of my brothers.” But of course, an abortion extremist can’t very well be invoking Saint Matthew, can he? So, for Obama, the shunning of these least of our brothers and sisters — millions of them — is somehow not among America’s greatest moral failings.
No. In Obama’s hardball, hard-Left world, these least become “that fetus, or child — however you want to describe it.”
Most of us, of course, opt for “child,” particularly when the “it” is born and living and breathing and in need of our help. Particularly when the “it” is clinging not to guns or religion but to life.
But not Barack Obama. As an Illinois state senator, he voted to permit infanticide. And now, running for president, he banks on media adulation to insulate him from his past.
The record, however, doesn’t lie.
Infanticide is a bracing word. But in this context, it’s the only word that fits. Obama heard the testimony of a nurse, Jill Stanek. She recounted how she’d spent 45 minutes holding a living baby left to die.
The child had lacked the good grace to expire as planned in an induced-labor abortion — one in which an abortionist artificially induces labor with the expectation that the underdeveloped “fetus, or child — however you want to describe it” will not survive the delivery.
Stanek encountered another nurse carrying the child to a “soiled utility room” where it would be left to die. It wasn’t that unusual. The induced-labor method was used for late-term abortions. Many of the babies were strong enough to survive the delivery. At least for a time.
So something had to be done with them. They couldn’t be left out in the open, struggling in the presence of fellow human beings. After all, those fellow human beings —health-care providers — would then be forced to confront the inconvenient question of why they were standing idly by. That would hold a mirror up to the whole grisly business.
Better the utility room. Alone, out of sight and out of mind. Next case.
Stanek’s account enraged the public and shamed into silence most of the country’s staunchest pro-abortion activists. Most, not all. Not Barack Obama.
My friend Hadley Arkes ingeniously argued that legislatures, including Congress, should take up “Born Alive” legislation: laws making explicit what decency already made undeniable: that from the moment of birth — from the moment one is expelled or extracted alive from the birth canal — a human being is entitled to all the protections the law accords to living persons.
Such laws were enacted by overwhelming margins. In the United States Congress, even such pro-abortion activists as Sen. Barbara Boxer went along.
But not Barack Obama. In the Illinois senate, he opposed Born-Alive tooth and nail.
The shocking extremism of that position — giving infanticide the nod over compassion and life — is profoundly embarrassing to him now. So he has lied about what he did. He has offered various conflicting explanations, ranging from the assertion that he didn’t oppose the anti-infanticide legislation (he did), to the assertion that he opposed it because it didn’t contain a superfluous clause reaffirming abortion rights (it did), to the assertion that it was unnecessary because Illinois law already protected the children of botched abortions (it didn’t — and even if it arguably did, why oppose a clarification?).
What Obama hasn’t offered, however, is the rationalization he vigorously posited during the 2002 Illinois senate debate.
When it got down to brass tacks, Barack Obama argued that protecting abortion doctors from legal liability was more important than protecting living infants from death.
Don’t take my word for it. There’s a transcript of a state senate debate, which took place on April 4, 2002. That transcript is available here (the pertinent section runs from pages 31 to 34). I quote it extensively below (italics mine). After being recognized, Obama challenged the Born-Alive bill’s sponsor as follows:
This is staggering. As Obama spoke these words, he well knew that children were being born alive but precisely not looked after by the abortion doctors whose water the senator was carrying. As Stanek put it, as many as one in five — twenty percent — were left to die. That was what prompted the legislation in the first place.
Through Obama’s radical prism, everything “is about abortion and not live births.” But in reality, this had nothing to do with “burden[ing] the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.” It was about the legal and moral responsibilities of doctors and nurses in circumstances where, despite that decision, a living human being was delivered.
Obama wasn’t worried about “the least of my brothers,” the child. He agitated, instead, over “what liabilities the doctor might have in this situation.” And what kind of doctor? A charlatan who would somehow “continue to think that it’s nonviable” notwithstanding that “there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead.”
Given the choice between the charlatan and “that fetus, or child — however you want to describe it,” Barack Obama went with the charlatan. The baby would end up limp and dead, whether in the operating room or the utility closet. It was, Obama insisted, about abortion, not live births.
– Andrew C. McCarthy is NR’s legal-affairs editor and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad.