October 16th, 2008
09:25 PM ET
6 years ago

Fact Check: Did Obama vote against care for children born during abortions?

Sen. McCain attacked Obama for his stance on abortion.
Sen. McCain attacked Obama for his stance on abortion.

The Statement: During an October 15 presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain attacked Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama for his stance on abortion. "Sen. Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate, voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide immediate medical attention to a child born of a failed abortion," McCain said.

Get the facts!

The Facts: McCain is citing a 2003 vote Obama made in the Illinois senate's Judiciary Committee. The bill's language said "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."

Obama justified his vote against the bill, saying its language would have undermined the legal protections for abortion provided by Roe vs. Wade. At the October 15 debate he also defended it, saying, "there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing life-saving treatment."

A law passed in Illinois in 1975 does require life-saving treatment if a child is born alive during an abortion. Under the law, if a child is delivered alive during an abortion, a doctor "shall exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as would be required of a physician" for any other newborn.

The 2003 bill did not make it out of the Judiciary committee.

Verdict: Misleading. Obama voted against the legislation, but said doing so was not a vote against caring for the children, because there was already an Illinois law that required treating babies born alive during abortions.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Fact Check • John McCain
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