Sen. Barack Obama has insisted he did not back a state bill protecting babies born alive from failed abortions because it would undermine Roe vs. Wade, but a newly unearthed transcript of his arguments from the floor of the Illinois Senate indicate otherwise.

Arguing against the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act in 2002, after even Planned Parenthood had dropped its opposition, Obama expressed concern that the bill might burden abortionists, reports blogger Erick Erickson on

Erikson, noting Obama was the only lawmaker to speak out against the protective measure, summarized the senator’s concern this way: “Let’s trust the guy who just botched the abortion to determine whether or not he actually did botch the abortion.”

According to the transcript, Obama said:

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 it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, 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.

Erickson points out that when the Illinois legislation came up in 2001, Obama was concerned about its impact on abortion rights. But when the bill resurfaced in 2002, that issue had been redressed.

Last week, the National Right to Life Committee publicized documents showing Obama backed the Illinois bill even though the National Abortion Rights Action League took a neutral position.

Obama previously explained his vote by arguing the state and federal Born Alive Infant Protection acts were different. He would have supported the federal plan, he said, but had to oppose Illinois’ plan because it could have been used to undermine abortion rights.

But the two measures were nearly identical, and Obama, furthermore, voted to include in the Illinois bill a “neutrality” clause that stated the definitions were not intended to impose restrictions on abortion. He, nevertheless, later voted against the protective bill.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said Obama had concocted a “manufactured” and “highly implausible” excuse.

“There is no way that the [state] bill would have had any effect on any method of abortion,” he told the New York Sun.

Johnson also challenged Obama to back up his statement to the Christian Broadcasting Network that people were “lying” about his support for what would amount to infanticide.

Obama, according to many analysts, took a political hit on the issue of abortion at last weekend’s joint appearance with presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California.

Asked by Warren at what point a baby “gets human rights,” the Democrat did not answer.

“Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade,” he said.


If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.


Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.