Aggressive new anti-choice language is going to be reinforced, not challenged, by the media in the lea dup to the election. Specifically anti-choicers are doing everything they can to paint Obama as a baby killer. This line of attack relies on a single bill, the purposely misnamed Born Alive Infant Protection Act:
Back to the bill, it was a crafty attempt by the anti-choice movement to mask their intentions (they seem to have a lot of trouble when they are upfront and honest):
The antis want to redefine these fetuses as “born alive” and require that doctors provide “resuscitation.” As a state senator, Obama saw BAIPA for what it was: an ideologically-motivated ploy to vilify women and doctors who choose abortion. On the state Senate floor on April 4, 2002, he explained, “This issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births. Because if there are children 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.”
The horribly misnamed pro-life movement tried to pull a fast one on reproductive choice, and Barack Obama saw clear through it. The “Born Alive” act wasn’t about protecting babies. It was about using lies to force a religious viewpoint on a secular nation. Obama stood up to it.
Given this, it isn’t surprising that Bill O’Reilly is using that language to defend McCain (and surreptitiously attack Obama)
Via Media Matters, we find that O’Reilly is apparently trying to say “women’s privacy” is “the new mantra” that encourages “infanticide” when responding to awesome Ashley Judd’s statement on McCain’s horrendous rap sheet on reproductive health.
What’s surprising? Who is buying it. Slate’s Trailhead blog has a series calls Swift Boat Watch where they evaluate attack ads for accuracy. Abby Callard completely misses the mark:
Accuracy: Obama opposed the bill in 2001 and 2002 as a backdoor attack on abortion. He said, though, that he would vote for it if it included a “neutrality clause” that would prevent it from affecting Roe v. Wade. But when a version with a neutrality clause came to the floor in 2003, Obama again voted “no.” The ad is correct about Obama’s voting record, but the group takes some liberties with the reasoning behind his votes. (Check out Factcheck.org’s analysis here.)
While in the Illinois State Senate, Obama did vote “no” four times to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, even when the bill contained the neutrality clause. The ad’s claims are accurate even if the logic is a bit off.
If only she had read to the end of the factcheck article she links to:
Obama, Senate floor, 2002: [A]dding 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. … I think it’s important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births.
Obama, Senate floor, 2001: Number one, whenever we define a previable 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 nine-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 antiabortion statute.
Obama’s critics are free to speculate on his motives for voting against the bills, and postulate a lack of concern for babies’ welfare. But his stated reasons for opposing “born-alive” bills have to do with preserving abortion rights, a position he is known to support and has never hidden.
Expect this point to be driven home by the lazy and the duplicitously partisan in the next month. The Obama campaign ought to focus on reiterating that the bill was about outlawing abortion, not protecting babies. At every opportunity he should be attack McCain’s new Palinesque stance on abortion:
The Republican platform approved at the party’s national convention earlier this month asserts the GOP’s opposition to abortion, including in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
McCain has supported such exemptions in the past, but did not try to alter the party’s stance at the convention.
McCain’s campaign is taking a very big step politically by moving to the extreme of the anti-choice spectrum. They’ve got the aggressive rhetoric to match. Unfortunately for the campaign it rests on a foundation of hot air.
This post was written by Dan on October 2, 2008