Communications Department

Obama’s Record: Not a Single Vote to Protect a Single Unborn Baby from Abortion

Oct 15, 2012 | 04-Fall 2012 NRL News

NRL News
Page 12
Fall 2012
Volume 39
Issue 4

Obama’s Record: Not a Single Vote to Protect a Single Unborn Baby from Abortion

By Dave Andrusko

On page 30, there is a great story about a series of posts that the NRLC Victory Fund has run. There are some absolutely devastating truths contained in this series (which will total 54 by Election Day) but none is more to the point than this: “In his entire political career, Barack Obama is not known to have ever supported any actual bill that would protect a single unborn child from being killed by abortion. In fact, he has opposed curbs on even the most horrific abortion practices.” This is fact, not the slightest exaggeration.

Three examples are cited and each is immensely instructive of the anti-life ideology that drives the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history.

(1) Obama co-sponsored one of the most sweeping pieces of pro-abortion legislation ever introduced in Congress, the “Freedom of Choice Act.” FOCA was designed to overturn federal and state partial-birth abortion bans, as well as hundreds of other state and federal laws that protect unborn children and their mothers, such as abortion funding bans, parental consent and notification laws, and Women’s Right to Know laws. As pro-abortionists race to process mothers through the killing machinery, Obama would ensure there is not the slightest speed bump.

(2) When a majority of the U.S. House voted this spring to ban the horrific practice of sex-selection abortions, President Obama opposed the bill! In almost every instance, unborn females are the target. So much for Obama the feminist.

(3) At a time when even pro-abortion groups and the most extreme pro-abortion U.S. senators, such as Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California, were agreeing to allow the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act to become law, Barack Obama was opposing an act with identical provisions when he was a member of the Illinois Senate.

When he ran for President, Obama and his defenders managed to deflect attention away from his actions, hardly surprisingly in light of a compliant press corps that acted like a shield then and now. Obama counted on people giving him the benefit of the doubt. After all, no one could seriously believe Obama would support the right to infanticide, right? Actually, he did.

NRLC’s website contains definitive documentation on this issue, much of which is distilled in a comprehensive “white paper” written by NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and Senior Legislative Counsel Susan T. Muskett in August 2008. This very thorough analysis can be found at

National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru recently wrote a very helpful synthesis/critique of much of Obama’s obfuscation and misdirection about the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.

He begins by explaining that Mr. Obama and those who defend his actions as a state senator have offered a number of explanations for his opposition to a bill in Illinois that would have provided legal protection to babies who survived abortion. For example, as Ponnuru observes, “They said he opposed it because the law lacked a clause clarifying that it did not protect fetuses within the womb. In fact Obama opposed a version of the bill that contained one (not that there was ever any need for it).”

Moreover, as Ponnuru notes, Obama understood it didn’t apply to babies in the womb and, more importantly, “never said otherwise.” To quote Ponnuru:

“His [Obama’s] point, to paraphrase it, was that granting legal protections to a pre-viable child was logically incompatible with Roe. He was wrong to predict the courts would see it that way: No court has struck down the type of legislation Illinois was considering; there is now a federal law on the books that is nearly identical to it. The Court’s jurisprudence makes the location of the developing human being—inside or outside the womb—decisive for whether it has a right to life, and not just its stage of development. (That’s one reason pro-lifers made partial-birth abortion an issue: to establish that a child partway out of the womb would be protected.)”

State Senator Obama raised a related objection to protections for infants born alive (in commenting on a different piece of legislation), according to Ponnuru: “Granting them protection by requiring that a second doctor be present to treat any born-alive infant would ‘burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.’ Legal protection for these infants, in addition to being wrong on principle, would inhibit abortion.” Ponder the ramifications of that total indifference to a baby who is no longer in her mother’s womb.

The issue has resurfaced again because pro-lifers refuse to allow the truth to stay buried. And that is that Obama (in Ponnuru’s words) “believed that certain infants—those at an early stage of development—should not have legal protection, and he believed it because he thought it would undermine the right to abortion.”

Having established Obama’s real position while a state senator, Ponnuru spends a lot of time carefully dissecting the conclusions of the Washington Post’s Josh Hicks, who had “fact-checked” an ad.

In general Hicks imputes positions to Obama he didn’t express, for example (as Ponnuru writes), “At no point does he [Obama] suggest that it would be okay to provide legal protection to pre-viable infants who survive abortions. That’s because he opposed such protection.”

And Hicks is determined to put the worst construction on comments made in the ad by abortion survivor Melissa Ohden and former Governor Mike Huckabee while giving Mr. Obama the benefit of the doubt (even when there isn’t any)—and more.

For instance, Hicks quotes Huckabee saying, “Obama ‘believes that human life is disposable and expendable … even beyond the womb.’” Besides concluding it’s all so confusing to say anything definitively, Hicks announces, “Nonetheless, we find it hard to fathom that the former senator expressed a belief that human life is disposable outside the womb.”

Yes, it would be, if it weren’t for that pesky record. As Ponnuru explains, “Huckabee was right: Obama did believe that at least some human lives, ‘even beyond the womb,’ are ‘disposable and expendable.’ He believed that for the law to treat them otherwise would be wrong. Whatever Hicks can or cannot fathom, Obama expressed that view both in his words and in his votes.”

Ponnuru concludes by damning with faint praise:

“Hicks deserves credit, however, for noting that Obama has made false statements about his record on this issue. He even says that if he were grading his 2008 comments today, he would give him four Pinocchios. That’s an improvement over the Post’s performance in 2008, when it was the worst of a bad lot of ’fact-checkers.’ Perhaps when Obama’s third memoir comes out, the Post will finally be ready to admit that Obama supported a right to infanticide for pre-viable infants, and pro-lifers had it right all along.”