Political analyst Deal Hudson has argued that supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, are misrepresenting or even denying Obama’s support for “infanticide.” Hudson charges the Senator with supporting infanticide through his opposition to protections for infants who survive abortion attempts.
Writing on InsideCatholic.com, Hudson cites Obama’s opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA), which was first introduced into the Illinois legislature in 2001 after nurse Jill Stanek reported that babies who were born alive after abortion attempts at Christ Hospital in Illinois were left to die without attention from medical personnel.
During Stanek’s testimony before the Illinois legislature’s Judiciary Committee, on which then-state Senator Barack Obama sat, Obama asked whether the bill would subvert a woman’s right to an abortion. According to Hudson, Obama voted against the bill in committee but voted “present” on the Illinois Senate floor.
The bill was defeated, but reintroduced in 2002. That year, Obama again voted against the BAIPA legislation in committee. In the full Senate vote, Obama voted “no” and led the opposition to the bill.
He was the only state senator to speak against the bill on the Senate floor, saying:
“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.”
In 2002 Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s recent opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted in favor of a federal version of BAIPA, which passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-0.
Obama, Hudson argues, consistently opposed the law. In 2003 the state version of BIPA was introduced to the Illinois legislature for the third time. The Senate’s Heath and Human Services Committee, which was then chaired by Obama, refused to bring the bill to a vote.
The Born Alive Infants Protection Act passed the Illinois legislature only in 2005, after Obama had left the body.
In his InsideCatholic.com essay, Hudson criticizes some Obama supporters’ argument that Obama’s several votes against BAIPA were not evidence of support for infanticide because the senator merely intended to uphold Roe v. Wade.
“Such bad logic completely detaches Obama's act of voting against the bill from its consequences,” Hudson asserts. “Without the passage of the bill infants born in Illinois remained vulnerable to the lack of treatment witnessed first-hand in Christ Hospital by Jill Stanek.”
Obama’s attempt to appeal to political moderates, Hudson argues, will have to work to overcome his past opposition to BAIPA.
“Once American voters start asking Obama why he would allow doctors and nurses to deny medical treatment to a newborn child it may raise the larger question about moral judgment,” Hudson writes. “Just the mere posing of that question to a candidate like Obama will strip him of his air of inevitability.”