President Barack Obama, while serving in the Illinois state senate in 2003, opposed a born alive infant protection bill that would assure that a baby born after a botched abortion would be cared for.
Asked about this, Carney would not comment on whether the White House could support legislation to protect babies that are born alive from being terminated.
The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, began last month in Philadelphia and is expected to last until at least the end of April.
Fox News reporter Ed Henry asked, “Is the president following this at all? Is the White House having any kind of reaction to that kind of situation that is alleged?”
Carney responded, “The president is aware of this. The president does not and cannot take a position on an ongoing trial. So I won’t as well. Certainly the things that you hear and read about this case are unsettling. But I can’t comment further on an ongoing legal proceeding.”
Henry followed, “The president as a state senator in 2003 voted against a bill that would provide medical care as I understand to babies who would be born after a botched abortion like this. The president at the time said he couldn’t support it as a state senator because he felt like any doctor in that situation would take care of a child. When you hear this kind of evidence, it suggests there is at least one doctor who apparently did not. I understand that you can’t deal with the deliberation of the case. But is there some legislative solution or at least a conversation that needs to happen in Washington because on guns you were just saying, we need common sense reform. We need to save lives. In this case do we need to be saving lives as well?”
Carney again avoided a direct response.
“Again, you’re relating it to a case that I can’t comment on and the president can’t comment on,” Carney said. “I would simply say that the president’s position on choice is very clear. His position on the basic principle that as President Clinton said: abortions ought to be safe, legal and rare is very clear. I just don’t have comment that could shed light on this specific case.”
Henry again asked, “Is there any sort of common sense reform though without restricting abortion rights? Does the White House see any line in there where if there is a baby that is still alive they should be taken care of without restricting abortion?”
Carney said. “You’re asking about hypotheticals about legislation or proposed legislation that I haven’t seen. So it’s hard for me to comment on it.”
Gosnell is charged with murder in the third degree for the death of a woman in November 2009 when she was overdosed with anesthetics. He is also facing seven murder charges for the deaths of infants who were killed after being born alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth month of pregnancy. The state has also charged Gosnell with infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks, abuse of a corpse, theft, and corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses, according to the District Attorney’s office in Philadelphia.
Obama opposed the Illinois state born-alive bills in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The 2003 bill was assigned to the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee that Obama chaired.
In 2002 Congress passed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act 98-0, before Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate.