Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Who Are You Going to Believe, Me or Your Lying Eyes?

If you’ve spent any time in the Catholic blogosphere during the past year, you’ve probably heard about Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama’s opposition to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, a bill that would have recognized premature abortion survivors as “persons” entitled to protection under the law. In 2001, Obama was the only Senator to speak against the bill, though he ultimately voted “present” on the bill passage according to an agreement worked out with Planned Parenthood. In 2003, Obama voted to kill the bill, which was then before the Illinois State Senate Committee of which he was chairman. A similar bill passed the U.S. Senate unanimously in 2002.

Senator Obama has always claimed that his opposition to the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Act was based on differences between it and the federal bill. The Illinois bill, Obama claimed, did not contain a provision present in the federal bill that ensuring that it would not upset the right to abortion. Last week, however, the National Right to Life Committee produced documents showing that the bill Obama voted against in 2003 did include a “neutrality” provision identically to the one in the federal bill.

Asked about the issue this weekend, Senator Obama offered a response that can only be described as bordering on pure chutzpa: He accused the NRLC of lying:

I hate to say that people are lying, but here’s a situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported – which was to say –that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born – even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level.

The problem with this strategy, of course, was that the NRLC actually had documentation to back up their claims, whereas the Senator had only his own say-so. By Monday, the campaign had backtracked:

Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position in the CBN interview on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported “was not the bill that was presented at the state level.”

His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate, and a spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said the senator and other lawmakers had concerns that even as worded, the legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law. Those concerns did not exist for the federal bill, because there is no federal abortion law.

As someone who taught constitutional law for several years, the idea that Senator Obama thought the Born-Alive bill would have “undermined existing Illinois abortion law” even absent the neutrality provision is somewhat laughable. The Illinois legislature lacks the power to overturn Supreme Court decisions. But his new justification for voting against the bill is not only implausible; it is contrary to the justification he has given for voting against the bill for the past several years.

A philosopher in ancient Greece was once asked whether he thought it wrong to lie about having committed adultery. He responded that if one was willing to commit adultery he should scruple at telling a lie. That Candidate Obama, who is after all a politician, might lie about his record is hardly surprising. Obama’s dissembling about the Born-Alive bill may have turned into a mini-scandal, but the fact that he hasn’t been honest about his opposition to the bill pales in comparison to his opposition to the bill itself.

(HT: Southern Appeal)

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August 19, 2008 - Posted by | Abortion, Election

1 Comment »

  1. Add to that he specifically called the NRLC liars. He owes them an apology and not just the statement made by his campaign, but a personal apology. One thing that will never happen.

    Comment by Jeff Miller | August 20, 2008 | Reply


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