A few weeks ago, the Huffington Post's Seth Colter Walls reported that Republican officials and outside groups were set to launch a smear campaign against Barack Obama, accusing the Senator of enabling infanticide.
The issue stems from a state version of the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which proposed that any "viable" fetus surviving a late-term abortion receive sustaining medical care. Obama opposed the measure not because he disagreed with overarching purpose, but because of objectionable side-provisions such as a failure to immunize doctors from legal prosecution.
It was, Seth concluded, a ginned-up argument made more complicated by the fact the bill passed in 2005, "free of any other measures Obama had previously opposed."
And yet, the GOP seems hell bent on furthering the line of attack. In the minutes preceding Saturday's values forum with the presidential candidates, Pat Buchanan discussed Obama's alleged vulnerabilities on the issue of abortion before letting it slip that conservative groups were set to hit the Illinois Democrat on charges of infanticide.
"Barack Obama on the issue of life is further left than anybody in the Congress of the United States. He not only pro abortion but pro-abortion on demand, he is pro-late term abortion, pro-partial birth abortion, he objected to the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the ban. But most important, Barack Obama and the Illinois legislature supported, or rather opposed a bill that would have protected the life of babies born from a botched abortion who were alive, three times. And I do know Republicans are planning, or rather 527s are planning attack ads on this and I will be interested to see if Rick Warren brings it up."
Already, it seems, the wheels are turning. On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that, "a group purporting to tell the "real truth" about Barack Obama's views on abortion wants a judge to rule it is not subject to federal election restrictions on fundraising and advertising. The Real Truth About Obama Inc., a group formed by anti-abortion activists, is trying to establish a Web site and air radio ads. But the group's attorney says his clients fear they will be prosecuted for breaking federal rules that restrict fundraising and advertising by political action committees, or PACs."
As for Warren, he didn't bring up the issue of infanticide during the values forum, though he did quiz Obama to define when "a baby get[s] human rights."
"Well," replied the Senator. "I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade. But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I'm absolutely convinced of is there is a moral and ethical content to this issue. So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue, I think is not paying attention."