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WaPo Fact Checker: We Could Give Obama Four Pinocchios on His Abortion Record, But Won't

2:01 PM, Sep 11, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Over at Red State, a blogger makes a note of an incredible Washington Post fact checker column yesterday. The column ostensibly fact checked a series of claims made by pro-life groups criticizing Obama on his abortion record. I don't want to get into all of the back and forth because it involves engaging a lot of argumentative nonsense. But in total, there are five pro-life claims evaluated and they award four of those claims one to three Pinocchios for being misleading, with four being the most Pinocchios the Washington Post fact checker hands out.

Pinnochio

However, that fifth claim is interesting, because it centers on the most controversial aspect of Obama's record on abortion—his opposition to the the Born Alive Infant Protection act, a bill in the Illinois legislature which stated that "A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law.” The fact checker quotes Obama's stated reason in the Illinois legislature for opposing the law, and sums it up this way:

Notice that Obama referred to “previable fetuses,” or those that do not have a reasonable chance of survival outside the mother’s body. Obama’s primary concern seems to be that the born-alive act would prohibit aborting a fetus still inside the womb.

Critics contend that this interpretation is not necessarily true because some previable fetuses survive after delivery from an unsuccessful abortion. They argue that Obama essentially opposed protecting the survivors.

Illinois lawmakers voted down identical versions of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2001 and 2002 before a new iteration of the bill came before the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, headed by Obama. This new legislation removed the controversial line about recognizing live-born children as humans and giving them immediate protection under the law. It also addressed Obama’s concern about previable fetuses, adding a “neutrality clause” that said the measure would not affect the legal status of fetuses prior to delivery.

Nonetheless, Obama voted against the new bill, which happened to be an almost exact replica — almost to the word — of a federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act that passed in 2002 without opposition in either politial party. (Updated: The vote in the House was by voice vote and the vote in the Senate was by unanimous consent.)

So far, so good. And we get some more context about Obama's dishonest defense of his votes on the two different versions of the Born Alive Infant Protection act:

Obama denied any contradiction during an interview that year with the Christian Broadcasting Network, accusing the antiabortion committee of lying about the circumstances of his vote. Here’s what he said:

“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. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade.”

From what we can tell, Obama misrepresented the facts during this interview. The 2003 bill addressed his concerns about undermining Roe v. Wade, and it matched the federal legislation that he supported virtually word for word.

So let's sum things up: We have a "Fact Checker" column that is headlined, "Did Obama vote to deny rights to infant abortion survivors?" The column unearths enough evidence that a reasonable person would conclude he did vote to deny rights to abortion survivors. And if his record on this is in any way defensible, why did Obama feel the need not just to lie about his record but accuse others of lying about him in the process? I know what you're thinking. Obama must be off the Pinocchio scale here. Guess again:

The evidence suggests we could have awarded Four Pinocchios to the former Illinois senator for his comments to the Christian Broadcasting Network, but that interview is several years old now, and it’s not the focus of this particular column.

They award him no Pinocchios. Unbelievable. Apparently, he lied about his record so long ago—all the way back in '08—that his dishonesty then isn't relevant to the current claim being made that Obama voted to deny rights to infant abortion survivors. Some facts are just too politically inconvenient to check, apparently.

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