Sean Hannity paraphrased a passage from Jerome Corsi's discredited book The Obama Nation that misrepresents a March 2001 speech Sen. Barack Obama gave in the Illinois state Senate opposing a bill amending the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975. Corsi claimed Obama said that if the bill passed, and "a nine-month-old fetus" that survived a late-term labor-induced abortion was defined as "a person who had a right to live," that it would essentially "forbid abortions to take place." In fact, Obama was not referring to "a nine-month-old fetus"; he was specifically talking about a "previable fetus."
Media outlets have quoted or cited criticism of Sen. Barack Obama by anti-abortion activist and WorldNetDaily columnist Jill Stanek without citing relevant facts that undermine her credibility, including her suggestion that domestic violence is acceptable against women who have abortions, her support of billboards in Tanzania with the words "Faithful Condom User" next to a picture of a large skeleton, and her citation of a report that "aborted fetuses are much sought after delicacies" in China to which she added, "I think this stuff is happening."
The Washington Post reported that "[a]bortion foes are now accusing [Sen. Barack] Obama of being an abortion-rights extremist" and purported to give the views of both the proponents and opponents of the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act," which Obama voted against as an Illinois state senator. But at no point did the Post note that the Illinois Department of Public Health had reportedly said that the alleged conduct the Post identified as having been the impetus for the bill was already illegal.
Rush Limbaugh stated that Sen. Barack Obama "believes it is proper to kill a baby that has survived an abortion" and Ann Coulter said that Obama "wants the doctors ... chasing it through the delivery room to make sure it gets killed." They based their claims on Obama's opposition to an Illinois bill that he and other opponents said posed a threat to abortion rights and was unnecessary. Indeed, the Illinois Department of Public Health reportedly said that conduct alleged by proponents of the bill, if it had occurred, would have violated then-existing law.
The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post all reported Sen. John McCain's assertion at a forum hosted by Pastor Rick Warren that he believes "a baby [is] entitled to human rights" "[a]t the moment of conception." But none of the articles raised the question of how McCain reconciles this statement with his support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and certain exceptions to a ban on abortion.
In The Case Against Barack Obama, David Freddoso misrepresents findings by the Illinois state government to claim that a statement by Sen. Barack Obama explaining his opposition to a bill that amended the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 was "not true." Obama asserted that "measures mandat[ing] lifesaving measures for premature babies" were "already the law" in Illinois. Freddoso falsely asserts that the Illinois Department of Public Health and a letter from the Illinois attorney general's office refute Obama's statement. They do not; indeed, a reported statement by the Public Health Department supports it.
Discussing Jerome Corsi's The Obama Nation, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "numerous times, three times in Illinois voted for legislation that would allow doctors and patients to murder babies who survived abortions and were out of the womb. Radical stuff. Three times he voted for this." Limbaugh misrepresented the legislation Obama voted against, a bill that amended the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 and that opponents said was unnecessary, as the Illinois criminal code unequivocally prohibits killing children, and posed a threat to abortion rights.
Jerome Corsi, author of the book, The Obama Nation, falsely claimed on Hannity's America that Sen. Barack Obama said, "Even if a child was born ... the woman still had the right to kill the child in an abortion." Corsi similarly falsely asserted on Hannity & Colmes that "[a]fter a child's born, Obama ... in the [Illinois] state Senate, wanted the child killed if the mother desired an abortion," and on Sean Hannity's radio program, said that "Obama's on record as let's kill the baby if that's what the mother wants." In fact, Obama has never supported giving people the right to kill their children.
Discussing the issue of whether health insurance plans that cover Viagra should also cover birth control, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly asserted: "Viagra is used to help a medical condition -- that's why it's covered. Birth control is not a medical condition, it is a choice." But O'Reilly's assertion is contradicted by professional medical associations that have stated that pregnancy is a medical condition and that "[c]ontraception is medically necessary" for women.
On Hardball, Chris Matthews asserted, "I don't hear Democrats talk ... about the need to reduce the number of abortions." He continued: "[Y]ou don't hear them talking a lot about the need for education, for much fewer, maybe enormously fewer, unwanted pregnancies, which is the reason people get abortions." In fact, Sen. Barack Obama said in April, "[W]e should be doing everything we can to avoid unwanted pregnancies that might even lead somebody to consider having an abortion."
On Hardball, George Will described female pro-choice voters as "women who believe, in the words of Barack Obama, that they shouldn't be punished with a baby." As video of Obama's remarks shows, Obama was discussing sex education, not abortion, when he made the comment Will highlighted.
In recent comparisons of Barack Obama's and John McCain's positions, Gannett News Service and the Associated Press claimed that McCain opposes a constitutional amendment banning abortion. However, McCain has previously asserted that he supports such an amendment, and McCain advisers have reportedly said that he would not try to change the Republican Party's platform on abortion, which in 2004 called for a constitutional ban on abortion.
Ed Henry and Jessica Yellin joined the growing list of CNN anchors and reporters who have embraced the lexicon of social conservatives, characterizing Christian conservative voters as "values voters" and equating an opposition to abortion rights with "family values." Henry suggested that support for reproductive choice is not a "family value" and that being pro-choice is inconsistent with being "pro-family," while Yellin suggested that those who are not "white evangelical voters" vote on something other than values.
Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson suggested that Sen. Barack Obama should "come out strongly for policies that would reduce the number of abortions -- support for pregnant women, abstinence education, the responsible promotion of birth control." In fact, Obama has advocated the policies Gerson mentioned: "education" that "include[s] abstinence" and "information about contraception."
Nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama had "gotten a question or into a debate about abortion rights for minors" when he said of his two daughters: "[I]f they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at the age of 16." In fact, Obama was responding to a question about "the issue of HIV and AIDS and also sexually transmitted diseases with young girls."