Roundup: Far Right’s ‘Born Alive’ Infanticide Smear Proven False

Brady Swenson

Far right's shameless attempt to smear Obama as 'infanticidal' entirely debunked; McCain flips on more woman-friendly 2000 abortion position; Bush's anti-contraception proposal would blunt state contraception access laws; Doctor addresses the poor state of reproductive health and rights in Yemen.

Far Right’s ‘Born Alive’ Infanticide Smear Proven False … The Obama campaign has released a fact sheet detailing Obama’s voting record on various versions of the bill labeled the ‘Born Alive Infant Protection Act’ (BAIPA) in the Illinois legislature.  The intrepid Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune has also done the research that the National Right to Life Council, Jill Stanek and other far right anti-choice extremists have not.  These two parties were principally responsible for distorting votes Obama made while chair of the Health and Human Services committee of the Illinois General Assembly and inflating these distortions into a full fledged smear accusing Barack Obama of supporting infanticide. 

EDIT: After re-reading much of this back-and-forth I would like to edit my original post this morning.  Like Stanek, who admitted to making a mistake in her evaluation of Obama’s voting record, the Obama campaign itself made a mistake in the original explanation of the bill and did not correct their inaccurate defense of the 2003 vote until the fact sheet was posted to the web on August 19th.  The only fact that matters now is that the 2003 Illinois committee version of the bill did not sufficiently address the neutrality issue thus making the bill legally dissimilar to the 2002 federal version.  

As State Rep Schoenberg explained in Eric Zorn’s research:

The feeling of the majority was that the bill (even as amended) still created great uncertainty about whether it would compromise abortion rights.  It looked like  yet another case of advocates trying to inject politics into the practice of medicine; we saw a desire to keep those   those key questions (about abortion rights) unclear.

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Thus Obama’s original defense of the bill, that it did not sufficiently provide legal neutrality to protect existing abortion law, was accurate.  And he was not the only legislator with concerns about the first 16 versions of the BAIPA bill that eventually passed in Illinois, as Zorn writes:

But Obama was far from the only state lawmaker who needed stronger
assurances that these bills were not Trojan horses: Seven more bills
related to "born-alive" failed in the General Assembly in 2004, and
Obama had nothing to do with those bills. And in 2005, when Obama was
in the U.S. Senate, a "born-alive" bill passed easily in Illinois when
specific wording was added, over the objections of abortion-rights
foes, saying it would not affect state law regarding abortion.

McCain Backs Away from Abortion Pledge … In 2000, when John McCain was running against George W. Bush for the Republican nomination, the still alive ‘maverick’ stood against the Republican party platform to support exceptions to abortion bans in the cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother — check out this video of a 2000 ABC debate in which McCain makes his support for exceptions to abortion bans very clear.  

John McCain has now reversed his position and fallen in line with the social conservatives of the party to support criminalizing abortion and the doctors and women choose to provide and receive abortion care:

John McCain’s campaign signaled on Wednesday that the Arizona senator
is backing away from his previously stated goal of changing the GOP’s
platform on abortion.

"There’s a process in place for the delegates to work on the
platform and we are going to let that process work itself out," McCain
spokesman Brian Rogers told ABC News.

McCain’s plan to take a hands-off approach with the abortion
platform stands in stark contrast with the position he took during his
first presidential run.

Back in 2000, McCain clashed with then-Gov. George W. Bush over his
unwillingness to change platform language that called for a human life
amendment banning all abortions.

Bush Administration’s Anto-contraception Proposal Would Blunt State Contraception Access Laws … The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the recently proposed anti-contraception HHS regulations "would stop California from enforcing a state law that requires Catholic
hospitals and charities to provide birth control coverage for thousands
of female employees, state Attorney General Jerry Brown and
family-planning advocates said Wednesday."

The article goes on to say that the California law and similar laws in states around the country are the target of the proposed regulation changes: 

The draft regulation describes the problem as laws such as those in
California and New York that require employers to include
contraceptives in any prescription drug coverage they offer to
employees. The federal agency had no comment Wednesday on the proposal.

California’s law was passed in 2000 in response to decisions by many
health insurance plans to cover the male potency drug Viagra but
continue to deny coverage for birth control pills, forcing women to pay
for contraceptives.

The state Supreme Court upheld the law in a 2004 ruling that applied
to 1,600 employees of Catholic Charities and 52,000 employees of
Catholic hospitals in the state. The law exempts church employees, but
the court said affiliated agencies such as Catholic Charities are
secular institutions because they employ and serve mostly non-Catholics.

Two more articles that warn against the implementation of these regualtions appear in The Daily News Record of Harrisburg, Virginia and in the Argus Leader.

The Poor State of Reproductive Health and Rights in Yemen … Dr. Walid Nasser Abdullah, a Yemeni doctor, writes in the Yemen Times today about the many problems facing women’s reproductive health and rights in his country:

Women in Yemen certainly experience a terrible situation regarding their reproductive lives. Numerous health indicators reflect not only the deterioration of basic health care, particularly prenatal care and safe childbirth services, but also women’s social inferiority in various aspects of their lives, such as the right to receive an education, proper nutrition, occupational opportunities and access to health care.

Dr. Abdullah goes on to provide three areas on which Yemen could focus to start down the path of improvement including fighting the terrible practice of female circumcision, delaying the traditionally young ages at which Yemeni girls are married and improved access to critical family planning services. 

 

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