Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some Notes on BAIPA

While at first Google, BAIPA comes up as the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association, chances are if you're talking about it in a political sense, you're referring to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Per Em's comments a couple of posts ago, I've gone off and done some research on why, exactly, Obama voted against this act. It seemed odd to me that Hillary and others in the same political vein as Obama would have voted for it while he voted against it, and as it turns out, it's because they were voting on utterly different and separate bills. Obama was not a member of the U.S. Senate when this Act hit the Senate floor, he was a member of the state senate in Illinois. As it was presented to the U.S. Senate, Obama had no problem with it - at the state level, however, the bill was problematic. It was defeated by the Democrats in the state senate without his vote, and there was a reason they all voted against it:

The bill at the state level: A) Eroded abortion rights by redefining the fetus at any stage a person, which ultimately makes abortion completely illegal - very very few dems would have voted for such a law- and here's the kicker - the law was B. Unneccessary because there was already an Illinois State law in place that explicitly protected babies born alive, (since 1975). I want to point out here that even the Illinois Medical Association opposed the law.

In Illinois, at the time, “Thirteen different bills relating to the rights of infants born alive as the result of a botched abortion were proposed during the 92nd (2001-2002) and 93rd (2003-2004) Illinois General Assemblies. See The Illinois Analogs to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. Five bills - 92-1095, 92-1662, 93-1082, 93-2631, and 93-2855 - were essentially copies of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 (BAIPA). However, only the fifth bill contained a “preservation clause”, (about how a person is defined, which solved problem A., above), similar to the federal BAIPA.”
“None of the bills in the 93rd assembly made it to a full Senate vote. Senate Bill 93-1083 (didn’t have the clause at first) never made it out of the Health & Human Services Committee, of which Obama was Chair. Senate Bills 93-2631 and 93-2855 (this last had the clause) never made it out of the Rules Committee, of which Obama was not a member.”
So he never had a chance to vote on any that were like the federal BAIPA on the Senate floor.
When the Senate bill 93-1083 went to the Health and Human Services committee which Obama chaired, it was amended to have the Federal “preservation clause”, but after discussion, the bill was killed by the majority of Dems-(6) to Rep-(4). Obama cast his, the 7th vote against, with the Dems. The Dems (and others) were still unsure about this bill, concerned how the 1975 law would be affected and other implications.

The bill did eventually pass in Illinois, in 2005, after much revision.

“The 2003 bill could have affected the way courts interpret the 1975 law, which Planned Parenthood and the Illinois State Medical Society contended could have far-reaching implications”, & “In 2005, Illinois lawmakers inserted an extra provision asserting that the law would not affect “existing federal or state law regarding abortion.”, (this solved problem B.). "The measure passed, without opposition from Planned Parenthood and with the support of groups opposed to abortion.”- chicagotribune.com

The point here is that Obama is, of course, not a baby-killing hate machine. There are fear-mongers out there who look for any way to demonize the pro-choice movement, when it is pretty obvious (after some serious research) that the Illinois Senate Dems were looking for a well-thought out and necessary bill, and refused to vote on gut-reaction. It is easy to say "Obama voted against saving babies born alive!" and a little harder to take the time to understand the intricacies of the bill and of the system in general. Can you imagine that man looking at his beautiful little girls and arguing that any child should be left to die? You can't, because he wouldn't, and never did.

I want to thank Ruth, a voice of reason at thismodernage.wordpress.com, for her careful research into this issue and specifically into the bill that was introduced onto the Illinois Senate floor in 2003. When she gets back to me with a blog or website I will credit her work properly.

1 comment:

Emily said...

The information I'm referring to is found here:

In summary:
"We find that, as the NRLC said in a recent statement, Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. 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."