It seems the higher Barack Obama climbs in politics, the lower his pay grade gets. Don Surber finds a quote from 2001, when Obama served in the Illinois Senate, that indicates that his pay grade covered the kind of determination that Obama now says exceeds his authority. Obama told Rick Warren that he couldn’t comment on the moment personhood gets established:
Q. Now, let’s deal with abortion. 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. you know, as a pastor I have to deal with this all of the time. All of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. 40 million abortions. At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?
A. 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. But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is there is a moral and ethical content to this issue. So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue I think is not paying attention. So that would be point number one.
But in 2001, Obama must have had more authority to opine on this same question:
“Number one, whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a — a child, a 9-month old — child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it — it would essentially bar abortions, because the Equal Protection Clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute.”
Obama made this argument to oppose the Illinois bill that would have forced Christ Hospital and other medical providers to give life-supporting treatment to any infant born alive, regardless of whether the birth occurred during an abortion or not. Essentially, Obama argues that only those infants carried to term achieve personhood through birth, not those he deems “pre-viable” but which were born alive anyway.
The argument is completely specious anyway, as successful abortions do not produce a living fetus but kill them in the womb. It’s the act of birth that would have conferred personhood to the infant in every single version of the bill, not its gestational period. In fact, that is the overwhelming consensus not just in America but around the world for the outermost limit of bestowing personhood on human offspring — accepted by everyone but Barack Obama.
It seems that Obama felt this issue was within his pay grade before it was above it. Given his radical and disturbing position on the point in 2001, perhaps we can all be grateful for that.