The official spokesman for President Obama has declined to respond to the issue of treatment for a baby born alive after an abortion procedure, calling it "hypothetical."
The comment today comes from Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, as reaction continues to ripple to a recent statement from a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in the United States, who said a doctor and a mother should be allowed to decide to kill a newborn who survives an abortion.
That stunning position actually echoed statements made by Barack Obama while he was in the state Senate in Illinois and repeatedly opposed a proposed law that would have obligated physicians to provide care to a baby surviving the abortion procedure.
Obama's arguments were that it would be a burden for the mother and the doctor.
The Planned Parenthood comments came at a recent Florida legislative hearing from Alisa LaPoit Snow, who was opposing a proposal that would require a doctor to provide care to an infant whom an abortion failed to kill.
Lawmakers were stunned, asking the same question over and over.
"So, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I'm almost in disbelief," said Rep. Jim Boyd. "If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?"
"We believe that any decision that's made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician."
Carney said the White House had no reaction to the issue, and when the reporter asked about Obama's opposition in 2003 in Illinois to a bill that would provide medical care for babies who survive abortions, Carney repeated Obama's statement that he thinks abortions should be safe, legal and rare.
Continued the reporter: "Just last one on this then. Is there any sort of common-sense reform, though, without restricting abortion rights? Does the White House see any line in there where if there is a baby that is still alive, they should be taken care of without restricting abortion?"
"You're asking for hypotheticals about legislation or proposed legislation that I haven't seen, so it’s hard for me to comment on," Carney said.
In the Florida hearing, the same, or very similar, questions followed several times, as if the lawmakers could not believe the position advocated by Snow.
"You stated that a baby born alive on a table as a result of a botched abortion that that decision should be left to the doctor and the family. Is that what you're saying?" wondered Rep. Jose Oliva.
Snow didn't change her response.
"That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider," she said.
When one lawmaker suggested at that point the "patient" also would include the newborn, Snow responded, "That's a very good question. … I would be glad to have some more conversations with you about this."
The Weekly Standard reported that Snow diverted the conversation when another lawmaker specifically asked, "What objection could you possibly have to obligate a doctor to transport a child born alive to a hospital where it seems to me they would be most likely to be able to survive?"
She responded that in some rural situations "the hospital is 45 minutes or an hour away" and said "logistical issues" were concerning.
The reaction continues to smolder. Marc Thiessen wrote at the Washington Post, "that when Rep. Todd Akin made remarks about 'legitimate rape' it was front page news."
But he noted the Planned Parenthood advocacy for infanticide rated scarcely a mention.
"Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $500 million in government subsidies, is branching out, expanding its mission beyond the provision of abortions to the defense of consumers' rights: If you pay for an abortion, you are owed a dead baby," quipped George F. Will.
Wesley J. Smith wrote at National Review suggested the precedent would be unwelcome.
"If a baby born during a botched abortion can be killed, why not also an unwanted baby?"
He noted that he sees the controversy as "another indication that infanticide continues its slow movement toward respectability."
Columnist Jill Stanek said the Florida bill states, "Infant[s] born alive during or immediately after attempted abortion is entitled to same rights, powers, and privileges as any other child born alive in course of natural birth; requires health care practitioners to preserve life and health of such infant born alive, if possible; provides for transport and admittance of infant to hospital."
And Rep. Marsha Blackburn called on the abortion industry giant to change that way of thinking.
"It is beyond question that babies born alive, despite being targeted for abortion, are entitled to full legal protection," she told Cecile Richards, chief of Planned Parenthood, in a letter.
"Any organization receiving taxpayer funding should not lobby in support of expanding abortions, especially controversial propositions like infanticide," she added.
WND has reported before on the idea of "post-birth" abortion, including when a Princeton "bioethicist" announced he'd allow the killing of disabled babies after they were born if that was in the "best interests" of the family.
|Princeton's Peter Singer (Photo: The Age)|
Those comments came from Peter Singer, a controversial bioethics professor, who responded to a series of questions in the UK Independent several years ago.
WND had reported Singer believes the next few decades will see a massive upheaval in the concept of life and rights, with only "a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists" still protecting life as sacrosanct.
To the rest, it will be a commodity to be re-evaluated regularly for its worth.
The statement furthers the arguments that Singer's position is just an extension of the culture of death that has developed in the world, with euthanasia legal in some locations, abortion legal in many and even charges that in some repressive societies there's an active business in harvesting healthy organs from victims in order to provide transplants for the wealthy.
Singer holds that man is no different from other forms a life, and therefore man's life is not worth more than, for example, a cow.
He told readers he'd kill 10 cows before killing one human, but that's not because they are of less value, only that humans would mourn.
"I've written that it is much worse to kill a being who is aware of having a past and a future, and who plans for the future. Normal humans have such plans, but I don't think cows do," he said.
Obama was a member of the Illinois legislature when he decided to not support a bill to provide medical care for newborns who survived failed late-term abortions.
Along about 2002, when Illinois was considering plan that apparently was similar to what Florida lawmakers were reviewing, he said: "I just want to be clear because I think this was the source of the objections of the medical society. As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child – however way you want to describe it – is now outside the mother's womb and the doctor continues to think that its nonviable but there's, lets say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they're not just out limp and dead, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. Is that correct?"
He continued, "Let me just go to the bill, very quickly. I think, as this emerged during debate and during committee, the only plausible rationale, to my mind, for this legislation would be if you had a suspicion that a doctor, the attending physician, who has made an assessment that this is a nonviable fetus and that, let's say for the purposes of the mother's health, is being – that – that labor is being induced, that that physician (a) is going to make the wrong assessment and (b) if the physician discovered, after the labor had been induced, that, in fact, he made an error, or she made an error, and, in fact, that that physician, of his own accord or her own accord, would not try to exercise the sort of medical measures and practices that would be involved in saving that child. Now, if – if you think that there are possibilities that doctors would not do that, then maybe this bill makes sense, but I – I suspect and my impression is, is that the medical society suspects as well that doctors feel that they would be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations and that, essentially, adding a – an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion. Now, if that's the case … and I know that some of us feel very strongly one way or another on that issue, that's fine, but I think it's important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births. Because if these children are being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they're looked after."
WND columnist Nat Hentoff has written on the subject.
"No previous president has been so radically pro-abortion as Obama, who, when he was in the Illinois Senate, voted three times against the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. The bill would have ensured that if a live baby fully emerged before an abortion was successfully completed, he or she was to be saved," he said.
"To let this legislation die would be an act of infanticide, but it did not pass while Obama was in the Illinois Senate. "
He continued, "State Sen. Obama insisted that the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act interfered with a woman's reproductive rights. But wanted or not, the child had been born, and preventing him or her from continuing to live was infanticide!"