Hannity paraphrased passage from Corsi's book that gets Obama's speech on abortion bill wrong

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI & DIANNA PARKER

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."

On the August 15 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Sean Hannity paraphrased a passage from Jerome Corsi's debunked and discredited book The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality (Threshold Editions, August 2008) 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. In the passage, Corsi claims 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." But the book misstates Obama's argument; Obama was not referring to "a nine-month-old fetus"; he was specifically talking about a "previable fetus."

On August 15, Hannity paraphrased Corsi's claim, telling his guest, anti-abortion activist and WorldNetDaily columnist Jill Stanek, that Obama "said that if the bill passed and a nine-month-old fetus survived this late-term abortion and was deemed to be a person who had a right to live and a right to medical care that the law would forbid abortions to take place, which is just, you know, medically false." Here is the passage from Corsi's book that Hannity was paraphrasing:

On March 30, 2001, Obama was the only Illinois senator who rose to speak against a bill that would have protected babies who survive late-term labor-induced abortions. A transcript of the Illinois Senate Session has been archived on the Internet, complete with Obama's comments as he made them that day on the Senate floor. Obama rose to object that if the bill passed, and a nine-month-old fetus survived a late-term labor-induced abortion was deemed to be a person who had a right to live, then the law would "forbid abortions to take place." [p. 238]

But according to a transcript archived on the Illinois General Assembly website, Obama specifically addressed the status of "a previable fetus," not a "nine-month-old fetus":

"And there was some suggestion that we might be able to craft something that might meet constitutional muster with respect to caring for fetuses or children who were delivered in this fashion. Unfortunately, this bill goes a little bit further, and so I just want to suggest, not that I think it'll make too much difference with respect to how we vote, that this is probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny. Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a -- a child, a nine-month old -- child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it -- it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute. For that purpose, I think it would probably be found unconstitutional." [Emphasis added]

From the August 15 broadcast of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

STANEK: And he brags on his website that he strategized with Planned Parenthood to vote present on the Senate floor, which was the same as a no vote, in order to lure Democrats who might have been squeamy about voting against a bill opposing infanticide and lure them to vote present so they would overcome the bill that way. He's -- it's on his website.

HANNITY: Well, Corsi actually chronicled in his book that a transcript of the Illinois Senate session had been archived on the Internet, complete with Obama's comments that he made that day on the Senate floor. And he was the only senator who rose to speak against this bill that would have protected these babies who, in fact, survive these late-term labor-induced abortions.

And he said that if the bill passed and a 9-month-old fetus survived this late-term abortion and was deemed to be a person who had a right to live and a right to medical care, that the law would forbid abortions to take place, which is just, you know, medically false.

STANEK: Yes, that's exactly what he said. I'm reading the testimony along with you. And he said on the Senate floor that he thought that this -- and this is a constitutional scholar, you know, by the way, that he calls himself. He said that he thought that this bill was going to be found unconstitutional. And he went on in 2002 to do the same thing, voted against it in committee. This time, he voted against it on the Senate floor, was the sole person to speak against it on the Senate floor again, ever.

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