ThinkProgress tries, fails to sanitize Barack Obama’s abortion extremism

If Team Obama wants to make this election about abortion, Team Romney should encourage them to bring it on.

Democrats plan to milk the “Republican War on Women” narrative for all its worth, bombarding their convention with multiple female pro-abortion speakers and sneering that the Republican convention’s string of strong female voices were nothing more than “shiny packaging” to disguise the “disaster for women’s future” Mitt Romney’s victory would bring.

But for all their tough talk, some liberals recognize that Romney’s abortion stance is closer to the American mainstream than Barack Obama’s, and that the mythical abortion gender gap isn’t as much of an asset as advertised. So some defensive maneuvering is in order.

At ThinkProgress, Annie-Rose Strasser tries to sanitize Obama’s refusal to do anything about infanticide in Illinois, which ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted in his speech to the Republican National Convention:

That bill, which Obama did vote against, would have required doctors to resuscitate an aborted fetus if legislators felt it had any chance of viability. But Obama’s reasoning for voting against the bill was nothing like how Gingrich and Huckabee represent it. In interviews with a range of media outlets, Obama expressed that he feared the bill would undermine Roe v Wade by defining any fetus as a human with human rights and claimed it could be used to take down any abortion rights legislation that anti-choice activists didn’t like.

This is no defense at all. Strasser isn’t refuting Huckabee’s characterization of Obama’s votes – “against a bill that would say that you had to give medical treatment to a baby that was born as a result of a botched abortion” – but rather just suggesting Obama had a good reason for doing so. Note to ThinkProgress: “editorializing” is not the same as “fact-checking.”

Even so, by any objective measure, that’s not a good enough reason to oppose protecting newborns. First, it’s a lie. In 2003, Illinois lawmakers returned to the issue, amending the measure with the very language Obama claims was the original deal-breaker. Senate Amendment 001 read:

Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being born alive as defined in this Section.

At the time, Obama chaired the health committee, which unanimously added the language – only for Obama to vote no anyway, killing it before it reached the Senate floor (PDF link). (For further documentation and background, click here.)

Second, the idea that any politician with a shred of decency would prioritize theoretical fears about eventually overturning a judicial decision above the actual starvation deaths of newborns is unspeakably horrific. Abandoning government’s most basic duty, protecting the rights of the defenseless, for the sake of a legal sham denying the people their right to vote on society’s most pressing human rights issue…if this doesn’t demonstrate how fully these people have elevated abortionism to the status of a grotesque religion, nothing will.

Obama was, however, “fully in support” of a federal bill that provided the same protection viable fetuses while also including protections for Roe v Wade.

So in 2001 and 2003, when the problem was staring him in the face and he could have actually done something valuable, he sided with the problem. But in 2008, while he was running for president, we were supposed to take his word for it that he “would have” done the right thing in Congress. Okay.

Obama also felt that the legislation would have taken decision-making out of the hands of doctors, giving anti-abortion activists an opening to sue abortion providers by alleging that they chose to terminate the life of a viable fetus on purpose.

This is another justification for Obama’s position, not a denial that he took it. Another bad one, too – what he really said was that he didn’t like implying that doctors wouldn’t administer life-saving treatment to such newborns on their own. Which is absurd – any law is for the minority who do evil, not the majority who abstain. And again, this was not hypothetical – newborns were being left to die. Christ Hospital admitted it (PDF link). It wasn’t being prosecuted.

He did not, however, express any support for “infanticide” or for ending the life of a viable fetus, as Huckabee and Gingrich claim.

So unless pro-abortion politicians use the words “I support infanticide,” we can’t hold them accountable for protecting de facto infanticide. Too bad they aren’t such sticklers for rhetorical charity when calling pro-lifers sexist religious fanatics who want to legitimize rape, leave women for dead in back alleys, control people’s sex lives, and incite violence against abortionists…

There’s simply no getting around Obama’s record of protecting infanticide. Nor can the rest of the president’s right-to-life record – nearly unlimited abortion during all three trimesters, federal funding for abortion, opposition to states’ right to make their own abortion policy 0 be spun as moderate.

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