The Campaign Spot

‘The doctor continues to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement..’

Dear McCain campaign,

Please spotlight these comments from Barack Obama about a bill designed to protect children born alive during attempted abortions.
[In the following transcription, I’ve cleaned up the sentences a bit; the actual transcript begins on page 31 here.]

Senator Obama: Can you just describe for me, under this legislation, what’s going to be required for a doctor to meet the requirements that you’ve set forth?

Senator O’Malley: First of all, there is established, under this legislation, that a child born under these circumstances would receive all reasonable measures consistent with good medical practice, and that’s as defined, of course, by the — you know, the practice of medicine in the community where this would occur. It also requires, in two instances, that — that an attending physician be – be brought in to assist and advise with respect to the issue of viability and, in particular, where there’s a suspicion on behalf of the physician that the child may be viable, that there’s a suspicion so that the attending physician would make that decision as to whether that would be the case.
The other one is where the child is actually born alive and then is — is — is actually born alive, in which case, the physician would call as soon as practically possible for a second physician to come in and determine the viability.
[In other words, the doctor performing the abortion would not be making the assessment of viability.]


Senator Obama: As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if this fetus, or child – however way you want to describe it — is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. Is that correct?

O’Malley: In the first instance, obviously the physician that is performing the procedure would make the determination. The second situation is where the child actually is born and alive, and then there’s an assessment — and independent assessment of viability by — by – by another physician at the soonest practical date or time.

Obama: The only plausible rationale, to my mind, for this legislation would be if you had a suspicion that a doctor, the attending physician… a) is going to make the wrong assessment and b) if the physician discovered, after labor had been induced, that, in fact, he made an error, and, in fact, that this was not a nonviable fetus but in fact a live child, that that physician, of his own accord, would not try to exercise the sort of medical measures and practices would be involved in saving that child. Now, if you think there are possibilities that doctors would not do that, then maybe this bill makes sense, but I — I suspect and my impression is, is that the Medical Society suspects as well that doctors feel they would be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations and that, essentially, adding an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion… I think it’s important to understand that this issue is ultimately about abortion and not live births. Because if these are children who are being born alive, I at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure they’re looked after.

Basically, Obama doesn’t think that any abortionist would kill a child that was born alive, and that thus, the bill is unnecessary. He doesn’t mention any need for any provision emphasizing that the bill is not meant to overrule existing abortion laws, his justification in later years for opposing other bills.
As Ed at Hot Air notes, there had already been more than a few documented cases of infants being born alive and being denied medical care. But Obama acts like it has never happened, and could never happened.
He voted “no.”


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