Obama's newest defense is hiding behind his children and having surrogates weakly claim the Illinois Born Alive legislation was different than the federal legislation, no longer because it supposedly lacked an abortion neutrality clause but because Illinois has an abortion law while the federal government doesn't. Here's how the AP article puts it:
The Obama campaign's explanation is that even if the federal and state versions had identical language, they would have very different consequences.So the first excuse was the laws had different language. Now that it has been revealed that the 2003 version of the law Obama voted against had virtually identical language, the new, never-before-heard excuse from the Obama campaign is that the laws with identical languages would have had different consequences.
The federal government doesn't have a law regulating abortion, so Congress could pass a "born alive" measure without actually affecting anything. But Illinois has an abortion law that would be muddled by changing the definition of a person with full rights, the campaign says.
All you get from the Obama campaign regarding the 2003 law is a "fact sheet" which notes that a guy from the Illinois Medical Society filed a slip noting the Society's opposition to the bill and a Planned Parenthood talking point from 2003 about the Illinois Born Alive law claiming it's different because it's a state law, not a federal law. What's really interesting here is that the Planned Parenthood talking point is dated 2/28/03. That's a couple of weeks before Obama's committee voted to add the neutrality language in March of 2003. In other words, the Planned Parenthood talking point doesn't really address the amended language Obama voted against. The material from the Obama campaign doesn't mention if the Illinois Medical Society opposed the bill before or after the neutrality clause was added.
How the virtually identical language of the Illinois Born Alive legislation would have had different consequences and what those supposed consequences would be for the 1975 Illinois Abortion law isn't explained in any sensible way.
If you read the Illinois law from 1975 (which includes language from the 2005 Illinois Born Alive bill), you'll see that this explanation is even more ridiculous since the 1975 Illinois law has been amended numerous times since 1975 and it's preamble says things like,
Without in any way restricting the right of privacy of a woman or the right of a woman to an abortion under those decisions, the General Assembly of the State of Illinois do solemnly declare and find in reaffirmation of the longstanding policy of this State, that the unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person for purposes of the unborn child's right to life and is entitled to the right to life from conception under the laws and Constitution of this State. Further, the General Assembly finds and declares that longstanding policy of this State to protect the right to life of the unborn child from conception by prohibiting abortion unless necessary to preserve the life of the mother is impermissible only because of the decisions of the United States Supreme Court and that, therefore, if those decisions of the United States Supreme Court are ever reversed or modified or the United States Constitution is amended to allow protection of the unborn then the former policy of this State to prohibit abortions unless necessary for the preservation of the mother's life shall be reinstated.
I'll be waiting for some pro-choice blogger to provide a explanation of how anyone could think the amended 2003 Illinois Born Alive law would have somehow impeded a woman's ability to obtain a legal abortion but I won't be holding my breath. As Ramesh Ponnuru writes,
So far, only the conservative blogosphere has been calling Obama on his misrepresentations of his record on the Born-Alive Bill, and on his reckless accusations against his critics. Reporters should stop carrying his water. As for his defenders in the liberal blogosphere, if they want to take up for him again I would advise them to wait a while. The campaign doesn’t yet have its story straight, and it has no room for the truth.