Yesterday, a YouTubed audio snippet of Barack Obama’s defense of his vote against the Illinois state legislation that required medical providers to give normal life-supporting medical care to infants born alive during an abortion appeared on several blogs. Neither Allahpundit nor I could determine the legitimacy of the clip at the time. After all, AP had just inveighed against Think Progress for Dowdifying John McCain on the draft, and it hardly seemed fair to propagate a potentially similar edit job on Obama. Guy Benson did some research on the quote and discovered that not only did the audio come from the Chicago Tribune, Obama had made similar remarks in the Illinois legislature.
Here’s the audio alone, without the musical overlay:
I suspect that doctors feel that they would be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations, and that essentially adding 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.
Guy also found a similar passage in the transcripts of the Illinois legislature. On pages 32-34 of the April 4, 2002 session, Obama debates the bill on the floor of the state Senate. He says essentially the exact same thing as he did in this audio passage above, but with a little more detail:
[T]he 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 the 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, and in fact this was not a nonviable fetus but, in fact, a live child, that the physician, of his own accord or her own accord, would not try to exercise the sort of medical procedures 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 that doctors feel that they would already be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations, and that essentially adding a — an additional doctor who the 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 — and I know some of us feel very strongly one way or the other 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 they’re looked after.
This passage is really remarkable for the willfully obtuse nature of Obama’s arguments. By the time this debate took place, Jill Stanek had already revealed that doctors weren’t providing medical care to infants born alive during abortions, at Christ Hospital, and a subsequent investigation proved that other abortion providers also abandoned such infants to die. That was the entire reason for the debate. Obama acts as if this is some curious academic hypothesis.
Instead of addressing the actual issue of infanticide, Obama twists it into a protection for abortion. He frames his own hypothetical as an abortion “for the health of the mother”, but the circumstances of the mother’s health has no bearing at all on whether a live infant should receive medical care. How would treating a live infant threaten the health of the mother?
And finally, as the original audio notes, the remainder of Obama’s opposition rests on the “burden” of calling in a second physician to make an independent determination of the birth. The bill created that “burden”, a procedure which would take very little time at all, precisely because the doctors at Christ Hospital and elsewhere threw live infants away with no oversight at all.
Nowhere in this argument does Obama say, “I oppose this bill because of its companion bill,” the lame argument that has surfaced over the last 48 hours from Team Obama. He doesn’t talk about the bill’s supposed unconstitutionality. Moreover, during the presidential campaign, he said he would have supported the federal bill even though it had all of the same supposed flaws Obama argued against in this passage.
Obama protected infanticide in order to protect abortion on demand. There simply is no other explanation except abject stupidity, and this passage proves it.
Update: Did Obama protect infanticide? Take the AOL Hot Seat poll: