Edward Klein’s unauthorized biography of Barack Obama, "The Amateur," was released yesterday.
While I appreciate that Klein devoted a chapter of his book, albeit only three pages, to Obama’s opposition as state senator to the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act, he got it pretty much all wrong. You can read the chapter at the link above, but here is the relevant section:
Obama did, however, have an interest in opposing a law that would have banned late-term partial birth abortions, a gruesome procedure that was once condemned by the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan as “too close to infanticide.” All across the state of Illinois, people were riveted by the controversial debate. The Chicago Sun-Times ran a cartoon showing God reaching down from heaven to a baby in front of Obama, who is holding a sign that reads “Live Birth Abortions” and yelling at God, “You keep out of this!”
An Illinois nurse named Jill Stanek testified before the Health and Human Services Committee that she had discovered that babies were being aborted alive and allowed to die in soiled utility rooms. One baby was accidentally thrown into the trash. Though Obama never showed up at the committee hearings, he voted against the bill – not once, but twice.
When, after a decade in the political wilderness, Illinois Democrats gained a majority in the legislature, Obama became chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. As chairman, he prevented the “Live Baby Bill” from getting a committee hearing, guaranteeing that the legislation would die, much as the late-term babies were dying in the state’s hospitals.
People often get details about this chain of events wrong. For many years I, myself, thought Obama voted against the Born Alive Act three times, when it was actually four. It doesn’t help that the Obama campaign and liberals persistently try to muddy the waters.
But Klein’s portrayal of events was wrong on just about every point. I expected more from the former editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine, who has also had many books on the NYT bestseller’s list.
First and foremost, at issue was the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, not the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, which Obama also opposed as state senator but had to do with a different abortion procedure.
And, as previously stated, Obama voted against the Born Alive bill a total of four times, not two.
But my biggest issue is Klein’s conjecture that Obama did not attend the committee hearings on Born Alive. I’ve never heard that before. I have previously written about an exchange between Obama and me at one of those hearings, so to say Obama wasn’t even in the room inadvertently calls my portrayal of events into question.
In addition, State Net, a branch of LexisNexis that has reporters memorialize state legislative committee hearings, published notes on our March 5, 2002, exchange, which was quite an odd one and the reason I’ve written about it before. Click to enlarge…
I should note this conversation was about a companion bill to Born Alive. It would have mandated that a second doctor be present in the event any baby was anticipated to be born alive in the State of Illinois.
As I testified, current Illinois law allowed (and still allows) the abortionist to determine before a baby is born whether s/he thinks the baby will be viable. It is easy to see why the person being paid to deliver a dead baby would do all s/he could to ensure that outcome, even if slightly delayed. Obama didn’t believe an abortionist would stoop that low. Pro-lifers do. It makes total sense. Kermit Gosnell proved our point.
The concept of such a room was so twisted. Rather than take abortion survivors to the Soiled Utility Room, nurses now took them to a room where they could have photos and footprints taken as keepsakes. And Obama was all in. (See more photos of the Christ Hospital’s Comfort Room here.)
At any rate, Klein got this incident all wrong. I’ve been reading his book and find it quite interesting but wonder how much of it is accurate, if this was any indication.