President Obama is aware of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, but White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t speculate about whether Obama might not support legislation such as the Born Alive Act that he opposed as a state senator.
“You’re asking for hypotheticals about legislation or proposed legislation that I haven’t seen,” Carney replied when Fox News’ Ed Henry asked if Obama, having voted against a Born Alive Act in the Illinois state legislature, thought the Gosnell case suggested there was a need for such a law.
“The president is aware of this,” Carney also said, adding that “the president does not and cannot take a position on an ongoing trial, so I won’t as well. Certainly, the things you hear and read about this case are unsettling.”
Gosnell faces eight charges of murder for allegedly killing one woman and eight infants who were born alive after a botched abortion.
“I would say that the president’s position on choice is very clear,” Carney said, echoing Bill Clinton’s “safe, legal, and rare” mantra.
In 2002, Obama voted against a Born Alive Infants Protection Act in Illinois, saying the law would undermine Roe vs Wade by banning abortions of a “a previable fetus,” as the Washington Post noted (the WaPo fact-checker pulled together some relevant comments made by Obama on the topic). The bill said 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.”
In 2008, Obama said that he would have supported a federal bill protect infants born alive as a result of botched abortions.
“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,” he said.
The Washington Post points out that the federal law “happened to be an almost exact replica” of the state bill that he voted against.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center, in its fact-check, agreed. “Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported,” APPC found. “Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus, according to an undisputed summary written immediately after the committee’s 2003 mark-up session.”