January 23, 2011

For the record: IL State Senator Obama on the fate of aborted-alive babies

We've referred to this many times since 2008 but in light of the Gosnell serial infanticide case, let's take another look at IL State Senator Barack Obama's statements on why we shouldn't let aborted-alive babies live:


SENATOR OBAMA: This bill was fairly extensively debated in the Judiciary Committee, and so I won’t belabor the issue. I do want to just make sure that everybody in the Senate knows what this bill is about, as I understand it. Senator O’Malley, the testimony during the committee indicated that one of the key concerns was — is that there was a method of abortion, an induced abortion, where the — the fetus or child, as — as some might describe it, is still temporarily alive outside the womb. And one of the concerns that came out in the testimony was the fact that they were not being properly cared for during that brief period of time that they were still living. Is that correct? Is that an accurate sort of description of one of the key concerns in the bill?
And more on p. 86 of the transcript:

Well, it turned out — that during the testimony a number of members who are typically in favor of a woman’s right to choose an abortion were actually sympathetic to some of the concerns that your — you raised and that were raised by witnesses in the testimony. And there was some suggestion that we might be able to craft something that might meet constitutional muster with respect to caring for fetuses or children who were delivered in this fashion. Unfortunately, this bill goes a little bit further, and so I just want to suggest, not that I think it’ll make too much difference with respect to how we vote, that this is probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny. 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. For that purpose, I think it would probably be found unconstitutional. The second reason that it would probably be found unconstitutional is that this essentially says that a doctor is required to provide treatment to a previable child, or fetus, however way you want to describe it. Viability is the line that has been drawn by the Supreme Court to determine whether or not an abortion can or cannot take place. And if we’re placing a burden on the doctor that says you have to keep alive even a previable child as long as possible and give them as much medical attention as — as is necessary to try to keep that child alive, then we’re probably crossing the line in terms of unconstitutionality. Now, as I said before, this probably won’t make any difference. I recall the last time we had a debate about abortion, we passed a bill out of here. I suggested to Members of the Judiciary Committee that it was unconstitutional and it would be struck down by the Seventh Circuit. It was. I recognize this is a passionate issue, and so I — I won’t, as I said, belabor the point. I think it’s important to recognize though that this is an area where potentially we might have compromised and — and arrived at a bill that dealt with the narrow concerns about how a — a previable fetus or child was treated by a hospital. We decided not to do that. We’re going much further than that in this bill. As a consequence, I think that we will probably end up in court once again, as we often do, on this issue. And as a consequence, I’ll be voting Present.
As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child - however way you want to describe it - is now outside the mother's womb and the doctor continues to think that it's nonviable but there's, let's say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they're not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. [p. 32 of transcript]
Some of Obama's language is straightforward. He actually uttered the blunt phrase, "to kill a child," and nothing could be clearer than his chilling "limp and dead." But mostly he goes for the euphemisms: "temporarily alive," "previable," and "nonviable fetus."

Kermit Gosnell had his own special terms for what went on in his slaughterhouse. A baby's movements were "reflexes." A breath was a "respiratory excursion." A heartbeat was "pulsation." A baby wasn't born; he "precipitated." (Not inaccurate: many of the children literally fell out of their mothers' birth canals. See p. 33 of report.) And Gosnell didn't kill the babies: he "ensured fetal demise." (Even when they were no longer fetuses.)

Kevin McCullough comments:
The issue was a debate over whether or not Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois (a hospital operated by the denomination of Obama's church) could continue a practice in which a woman's labor could be induced weeks ahead of delivery. Roughly 75% of the children would die in the process, leaving roughly 25% who survived.

Instead of snipping spinal cords, the hospital would leave the children in the now infamous "soiled utility closet" to perish from exposure and neglect. Sometimes these children would expire in 45 minutes. Many times the children would struggle for life for the full 8 hours of a nurse's shift. And on multiple occasions the children would live for nearly a day.

Jill Stanek, one of the pediatric nurses who worked in the department while this practice was on going later testified before Obama's committee.

Obama's response? (According to Stanek?)

Roughly paraphrased: If a woman entered the hospital with the intent of seeking an abortion, then it was the woman's choice to allow that child to live or die. (Should it survive the induced labor.)
(H/t: Ed Morrissey)

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  1. I know something about 'precipitated':
    My son was a preemie, he and I both nearly died during his delivery. It was a precipitous birth. Thankfully, the hospital recognized that this was a loved and dearly wanted child and they got him breathing and worked feverishly around the clock to keep him alive in the days that followed even when his heart stopped on more than one occasion. He is now a strong healthy three year old. I had gone into labor but after twelve hours, was no further along and they decided it was best to induce to move things along, I guess. I dunno, I'm not a doctor, but they gave me an IV drug and the next thing I knew I was in more pain than I could possibly imagine and as they tried to stifle my screaming, the baby came out. The pain felt like an eternity, but in reality it was less than ten minutes. I imagine that a late term abortion is not that much different, with the exception of course that not only does nobody go to the heroic measures that they took to save my boy, they actually actively set out to ensure that the baby does not survive under any circumstances.
    I'm going to go hug my son now and pray that reading the callous disregard for life from our president (God help us) does not give me nightmares. Dear Lord, look at what we have put in charge of our country!

  2. "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."

    In other words: Let's not let that nuisance of an equal protection clause get in our way. We'll merely redefine baby to mean non-child. Problem solved.

    That's what this man was up to when he was a mere state senator. Now he's running our nation's entire health care system, as we watch entire categories of people, illnesses, and treatments get "redefined."

  3. Zilla/MJ raised a good point. "..look at what we have put in charge of our country!"
    Are we to believe that he has a caring regard for the average citizen than he has for the basic right to life of a "temporarily alive,"?


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