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Monday, April 28, 2008

Obama's Empathy Rings Hollow

In 2006, Barack Obama gave a commencement speech to Northwestern University graduates. One of the themes he developed in his speech was that of cultivating empathy.

I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit – the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through those who are different from us – the child who’s hungry, the laid-off steelworker, the immigrant woman cleaning your dorm room.

As you go on in life, cultivating this quality of empathy will become harder, not easier. There’s no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care.

Jill Stanek was a registered nurse who worked in the Labor and Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and who testified before the U.S. House committee in 2000 and 2001 for the Born Alive Infants Protection Act which required medical attention for babies who survived a procedure known as "induced labor abortion." On March 27, 2001, she also testified before the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Barack Obama was a member.

Stanek has written an article for Citizen Link telling how Obama, as an Illinois State Senator, blocked the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act. In her article, Stanek talks about her testomony in the Illinois Senate:

My testimony included my description of holding a premature aborted baby until he died:

One night, a nursing co-worker was taking an aborted Down’s syndrome baby who was born alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not want to hold him, and she did not have time to hold him. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about ½ pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end, he was so quiet that I couldn’t tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken.

After listening to Stanek’s testimony, Obama voted “no” on Senate Bill 1095, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 28. He then argued against the bill on the Senate floor on March 30, and voted “present” when the bill was up for a vote that day. The name of the bill is self-explanatory, but Barack Obama couldn't find it within himself to vote for it. There was no one forcing him to care.

The following year a similar Born Alive Infant Protection Act, Senate Bill 1662, was proposed in the Illinois Senate. Again Obama voted “no” in the Senate Judiciary Committee; again he argued against the bill on the Senate floor, and this time he also voted “no” when the bill was before the full Senate. Once again, Barack Obama demonstrated his own “empathy deficit.”

In 2003, Obama chaired the Health and Human Services Committee to which the 2003 version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, Senate Bill 1082, was referred. As chair, Obama killed the bill in committee by not allowing it to come up for a vote.

Somehow, Obama’s talk of empathy rings hollow coming from a man who is willing to allow babies, not fetuses, but babies, born alive and living outside their mother’s womb, to die because they are not wanted, and because recognizing them as people would fly in the face of his pro-abortion views.


Blogger Malott said...

Great Post.

10:38 AM  
Blogger SkyePuppy said...

Looking at Obama's speech, it's obvious he's speaking from personal experience. His empathy seems to only extend as far as Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan, not to any of the rest of us.

Excellent post!

12:42 PM  
Blogger Tsofah said...

Great post...I think Sen. Obama needs to go back to his plagarized speech about "just words". In his case, I think they ARE just (only) words.

5:28 PM  

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