- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2008

From combined dispatches

Democrat Sen. Barack Obama is airing a new ad in New Mexico and Ohio that defends his record on abortion and says Republican rival Sen. John McCain backs a party platform that would deny abortions to victims of rape and incest.

The Obama ad answers an independent ad campaign, financed by a pro-life philanthropist, that singles out Mr. Obama’s efforts in the Illinois Senate to defeat the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.

“Now votes taken out of context, accusing Obama of letting infants die? It’s a despicable lie,” the Obama ad states.

As an Illinois state senator, Mr. Obama opposed three legislative efforts in 2001, 2002 and 2003 to give legal protections to any aborted fetus that showed signs of life.

Mr. Obama and other opponents of the Illinois bill said the state already had a law to protect aborted fetuses born alive and considered able to survive and said that the proposed legislation would have undermined Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that established abortion as a constitutional right.

But Mr. Obama’s explanations, including an interview on the Christian Broadcast Network where he is accusing his critics of “lying,” are not consistent with some of his votes.

For example, the 2003 measure was virtually identical to a bill President Bush signed into law in 2002 that unanimously passed the U.S. Senate and which Mr. Obama, in explaining his Illinois Senate votes during this year’s campaign, has said that he could have supported. But he voted against it in 2003.

His explanation on undermining Roe is also shaky because while the bill was in committee in 2003, Mr. Obama voted to insert a clause stipulating that nothing in the law could be construed to conflict with Roe. He then voted against the overall bill anyway.

The independent ad is being aired by BornAliveTruth.org, specifically targeting Albuquerque, N.M., and Cleveland markets. The Obama ad is appearing in the same markets.

The BornAliveTruth ad, financed by prominent Massachusetts pro-life figure Raymond Ruddy, features Gianna Jessen, a 31-year-old motivational speaker from Nashville, Tenn., who was adopted as a child after surviving a botched abortion attempt.

“Senator Obama, please support born-alive infant protections. I’m living proof these babies have a right to live,” she said.

The Obama ad links McCain to the independent ad, though the McCain campaign neither paid for nor aired it. The Arizona senator also is widely viewed with suspicion by pro-life activists.

“McCain, he’s running on a platform to ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest,” the Obama ad says. “Sleazy ads, anti-choice, that’s John McCain.”

The Republican platform approved at the party’s national convention earlier this month reiterates the Republican Party’s long-standing opposition to abortion, including in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. Such cases constitute about 1 percent of all abortions.

Mr. McCain has supported such exemptions in the past but did not try to alter the party’s stance at the convention.

Jill Stanek, a nurse and pro-life activist who organized Born AliveTruth, said Mr. Obama still needs to explain his votes.

“These babies have the same rights as the rest of us,” she said in response to the Obama ad.

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