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Letter: He's 'flat out wrong' on Obama

According to Steve Lagoon ("The Obama Irony," Bulletin, Nov. 19), Barack Obama voted to deny medical care for babies who survive an abortion. Lagoon is flat out wrong.

At issue is Obama's opposition to Illinois legislation that would have defined any aborted fetus that showed signs of life as a "born alive infant" entitled to legal protection, even pre-viable babies, that is, babies who could not, under any circumstances, survive outside the womb.

It is worth noting that, at the time these bills were introduced, Illinois law already required physicians to protect the life of a fetus when there is "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb, with or without artificial support."

Illinois compiled statute 720 ILCS 510/6 states that physicians performing abortions when the fetus is viable must use the procedure most likely to preserve the fetus' life; must be attended by another physician who can care for a born-alive infant; and must "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 providing immediate medical care to a child born alive in the course of a pregnancy termination which was not an abortion." Failure to do any of the above was then, and still is considered a felony.

The bills to which Obama objected would have granted full rights to pre-viable fetuses (that is, fetuses that could not live outside the womb) as long as they showed some vital signs outside the mother; abortion-rights groups saw these bills as the thin edge of a wedge that could be used to pry apart legal rights to abortion.

Obama stated this objection on the Senate floor in discussion of the bills, and, in fact, he further stated that he would support the bills if they included language assuring that abortion rights would not be effected.

Requiring resuscitative measures for pre-viable infants is not only futile, it is also cruel, subjecting the infants to invasive and sometimes painful procedures when they should, in fact, be allowed to die peacefully in their parents' arms.

Would Lagoon require intubation, ventilation and chest compressions for an infant without fully-developed lungs, for example?

Mr. Lagoon, enjoy your emotional response and your pride in our nation for electing our first African-American President, and rest easy regarding the unborn.

Barack Obama has repeatedly expressed support for the only policies proven to reduce the incidence of abortions, namely, age-appropriate comprehensive sex education and available contraception to reduce unwanted pregnancies, along with healthcare and other support services for mothers and children so that economic necessity will not be a reason for having an abortion.

By reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, and by providing support services for mothers and children, these methods reduce the number of abortions far more successfully than outright prohibition, which only drives abortion into the back alleys.

Joyce Denn