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Dirty meme the Republicans are trying to foist.
blaisepascal
One of the "talking points" that the Republican party is trying to push these days is that Barack Obama is somehow soft on infanticide, that he's more pro-abortion than NARAL.

Don't believe a word of it. It is based on the intentional confusion of two very different bills from 2002.

Obama, acting as an Illinois State Senator, killed the Induced Labor Infant Liability Act (ILILA) in committee. The stated purpose of the law is "to protect a child who is born alive as the result of an induced labor abortion or any other abortion and to ensure that the child receives all medical care necessary to preserve and protect the life, health, and safety of the child."

At the Federal Level, there was the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA), "An Act to protect infants who are born alive". This bill passed, and became law in 2002.

The talking points of the Right-to-life crowd and the Republican party is that these two bills, one which Obama opposed and killed in the Illinois State Senate, and one which passed without objection in the US Senate, are essentially identical, and that Obama's opposition to one is enough to infer his opposition to the other.

Let's compare the two bills to see how similar they are, and if it is reasonable to infer opposition to the BAIPA based on opposition to the ILILA.

The ILILA establishes the ability for the parent or a "public guardian" to sue on behalf of a child "born alive" during an abortion procedure, in civil court, a health-care provider for failing to provide medical care for the child. The child/plaintiff can recover all costs of care, punitive damages, suit costs, and attorney's fees -- even if the child doesn't survive. If the child doesn't survive, everything left over after the costs of care have been paid go to a fund to make grants for neonatal care and perinatal hospice. I've summarized, but not by much. If you want the full details, the link is above.

The ILILA doesn't define what it means for a child to be "born alive". I suppose it's possible for a public guardian to believe life begins at conception, and to bring suit against a health care provider who didn't provide proper care to keep an embryo extracted during a first-trimester D&C alive. And I suppose it's possible for a similarly inclined jury to agree, based on a "preponderance of the evidence" standard, that the provider failed his/her duty to the "child". I suppose in such a potential environment, it would be too risky, in terms of liability, for an abortionist to operate.

In contrast, the BAIPA doesn't establish a new venue for civil liability. Rather, it modifies the definition of "person" (and "human being", "child", "individual"), as used in Federal Law, to include infants "born alive", and gives a rather specific definition of "born alive". It also states that it doesn't affect the legal status of any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being "born alive". The link above doesn't take you straight to the text, but it's one click away.

The bills, while both nominally serve to protect the newly born, do so in vastly different ways, with vastly different implications, and vastly different applicability. There is no reasonable way that opposition to ILILA should be construed as opposition to BAIPA.

Yet that is exactly what the RTL and Republicans want you to believe. They mention the BAIPA, mention that a "similar bill" was in the Illinois Senate while Obama was there, and that he killed that bill. Therefore, he must oppose giving protection to those "born alive", as per BAIPA. The problem is that ILILA is in no way a "similar bill" -- but who actually reads the bills, when RTL columnists, sound-bites, and TV commentators can tell us they are similar for us?

I'm sure you'll be hearing this meme more and more from the RTL and Republican camps. Already Fred Thompson hinted at it in tonights speech. I'm sure they want to suggest their opposition is in support of infanticide, or at least not opposed to it, regardless of the truth, as much as they can.

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