Fox News host Mike Huckabee tried to defend Todd Akin's controversial claim that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy by repeating distorted claims about President Obama's record on abortion and attempting to portray him as more radical on the issue than Akin.
Appearing as a guest on the August 24 edition of Fox's Your World With Neil Cavuto, Huckabee said that the “real issue” is not about what Akin said but that his Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill, supported health care reform. He went on to portray Obama as more radical than Akin by claiming that, as an Illinois state legislator, he “voted three times against a bill that would say you had to give medical treatment to a baby born as a result of a botched abortion.” Huckabee added, “This is an after-birth abortion. He said no, you can still take the life of the baby even after abortion. Neil, that's further than Barney Frank and most of the hardcore liberals in the Congress were ever willing to go.”
But Huckabee's attempt to deflect from Akin's comments is based on a long-debunked attack.
According to PolitiFact, Illinois already had a law requiring medical care for a viable fetus that survived an abortion. The bills that Huckabee is apparently referring to are efforts in 2001, 2002, and 2003 to expand that law with a “born alive” clause requiring that any fetus that survived an abortion, even ones that could not survive outside the womb, receive medical care.
Obama has said he opposed those bills because the law would likely have been struck down in the courts for giving legal status to fetuses, a requirement that a second doctor be present at abortions, and their lack of a “neutrality clause” to make sure the bill would not affect current abortion laws.
Contrary to Huckabee's suggestion, at no time did Obama make the argument that infants who survived botched abortions should be killed.