Communications Department

NRLC: Will congressional Democrats follow Obama to new extreme?

Sep 17, 2015 | 2015 Press Releases

White House: New bill to protect babies born alive during late abortions will “chill” abortion, so Obama “would veto”

 WASHINGTON – Late September 16, the White House issued an astonishing announcement that President Obama “will veto” a bill that does nothing but provide protection for babies who are born alive during late abortions – because he thinks the bill “would likely have a chilling effect” on access to late abortions.

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote tomorrow on the bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 3504). The bill will make it a federal crime to kill a baby who is born alive during an abortion, either through overt acts of violence or gross neglect.

The president of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), Carol Tobias, commented regarding the White House statement: “President Obama’s subservience to the abortion lobby is so complete that he now threatens to use his pen to protect the abortionist who would kill a baby born alive, rather than to protect that helpless baby.”

Douglas D. Johnson, NRLC legislative director, said: “Congressional Democrats who follow the president into this extreme territory will have many future opportunities to try to explain why they voted against making it a crime to snip the spine of a born-alive baby, or to harvest that baby’s liver while her heart still beats.”

Since 2002, federal law (1 U.S.C. §8) says that “every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development” is a “person” for all federal law purposes. The 2002 law defines “born alive” in terms of traditional criteria – the presence of a beating heart, respiration, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. This law passed Congress without a dissenting vote. When running for president in 2008, Obama insisted that if he’d been in the U.S. Senate in 2002, he too would have voted for this law – that is, he would have voted to recognize every born-alive baby as a “person,” whether before or after the point of “viability” (“at any stage of development”).

“So now we know – President Obama agreed that these born-alive babies are legal persons — but he is also fine with allowing them to be killed because, gee whiz, to forbid killing them might ‘chill’ the availability of late abortions,” Johnson said.

In a September 16 letter to the House of Representatives in support of the new bill, NRLC said, “In 2013, Dr. Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia was convicted under state law of multiple homicides of such born-alive infants, but such a prosecution and conviction is uncommon. In some jurisdictions, local authorities seem reluctant to investigate reports of infants born alive during abortions, or to bring appropriate indictments even in cases in which the publicly reported evidence of gross neglect or overt lethal acts seems strong.”

The complete NRLC letter is posted here:

Detailed documentation on the history of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 (1 U.S.C. §8) and related issues is available on the NRLC website:

A 2008 NRLC “white paper” on Barack Obama’s opposition, as an Illinois state senator, to recognizing babies born-alive during abortions as legal persons is here:

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.