James Oberstar on Abortion
Democrat/Farmer/Labor Representative (MN-8)
Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines.
Allows federal funding for research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo, provided such embryos:
- have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics;
- were created for the purposes of fertility treatment;
- were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment and would otherwise be discarded; and
- were donated by such individuals with written informed consent and without any financial or other inducements.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Since 2 years ago, the last Stem Cell bill, public support has surged for stem cells. Research is proceeding unfettered and, in some cases, without ethical standards in other countries. And even when these countries have ethical standards, our failures are allowing them to gain the scientific edge over the US. Some suggest that it is Congress' role to tell researchers what kinds of cells to use.
I suggest we are not the arbiters of research. Instead, we should foster all of these methods, and we should adequately fund and have ethical oversight over all ethical stem cell research.
Opponents support voting NO because:
A good deal has changed in the world of science. Amniotic fluid stem cells are now available to open a broad new area of research. I think the American people would welcome us having a hearing to understand more about this promising new area of science. As it stands today, we will simply have to debate the bill on the merits of information that is well over 2 years old, and I think that is unfortunate.
The recent findings of the pluripotent epithelial cells demonstrates how quickly the world has changed. Wouldn't it be nice to have the researcher before our committee and be able to ask those questions so we may make the best possible judgment for the American people?
Reference: Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act;
Bill HR 3 ("First 100 hours")
; vote number 2007-020
on Jan 11, 2007
Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research.
To provide for human embryonic stem cell research. A YES vote would:
Reference: Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act;
Bill HR 810
; vote number 2005-204
on May 24, 2005
- Call for stem cells to be taken from human embryos that were donated from in vitro fertilization clinics
- Require that before the embryos are donated, that it be established that they were created for fertility treatment and in excess of clinical need and otherwise would be discarded
- Stipulate that those donating the embryos give written consent and do not receive any compensation for the donation.
Voted YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions.
To prevent the transportation of minors in circumvention of certain laws relating to abortion, and for other purposes, including:
Reference: Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act;
Bill HR 748
; vote number 2005-144
on Apr 27, 2005
- Allowing for exemptions to the law if the life of the minor is in danger or if a court in the minor's home state waive the parental notification required by that state
- Allocating fines and/or up to one year imprisonment of those convicted of transporting a minor over state lines to have an abortion
- Penalizing doctors who knowingly perform an abortion procedure without obtaining reasonable proof that the notification provisions of the minor's home state have been satisfied
- Requiring abortion providers in states that do not have parental consent laws and who would be performing the procedure on a minor that resides in another state, to give at least a 24 hour notice to the parent or legal guardian
- Specifying that neither the minor nor her guardians may be prosecuted or sued for a violation of this act
Voted YES on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime.
Vote to pass a bill that would make it a criminal offense to harm or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime. The measure would set criminal penalties, the same as those that would apply if harm or death happened to the pregnant woman, for those who harm a fetus. It is not required that the individual have prior knowledge of the pregnancy or intent to harm the fetus. This bill prohibits the death penalty from being imposed for such an offense. The bill states that its provisions should not be interpreted to apply a woman's actions with respect to her pregnancy.
Reference: Unborn Victims of Violence Act;
Bill HR 1997
; vote number 2004-31
on Feb 26, 2004
Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life.
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003: Vote to pass a bill banning a medical procedure, which is commonly known as "partial-birth" abortion. The procedure would be allowed only in cases in which a women's life is in danger, not for cases where a women's health is in danger. Those who performed this procedure, would face fines and up to two years in prison, the women to whom this procedure is performed on are not held criminally liable.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Santorum, R-PA;
; vote number 2003-530
on Oct 2, 2003
Voted YES on funding for health providers who don't provide abortion info.
Abortion Non-Discrimination Act of 2002: Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit the federal, state and local governments that receive federal funding from discriminating against health care providers, health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and any other kind of health care facility, organization or plan, that decline to refer patients for, pay for or provide abortion services. In addition the bill would expand an existing law "conscience clause" that protects physician training programs that refuse to provide training for abortion procedures.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Bilirakis, R-FL;
Bill HR 4691
; vote number 2002-412
on Sep 25, 2002
Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad.
Vote to adopt an amendment that would remove language reversing President Bush's restrictions on funding to family planning groups that provide abortion services, counseling or advocacy.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Hyde, R-IL;
Bill HR 1646
; vote number 2001-115
on May 16, 2001
Voted YES on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes.
Vote to pass a bill that would make it a federal crime to harm a fetus while committing any of 68 federal offenses or a crime under military law. Abortion doctors and women whose own actions harmed their fetuses would be exempt.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Graham, R-SC;
Bill HR 503
; vote number 2001-89
on Apr 26, 2001
Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions.
HR 3660 would ban doctors from performing the abortion procedure called "dilation and extraction" [also known as “partial-birth” abortion]. The measure would allow the procedure only if the life of the woman is at risk.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Canady, R-FL;
Bill HR 3660
; vote number 2000-104
on Apr 5, 2000
Voted YES on barring transporting minors to get an abortion.
The Child Custody Protection Act makes it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines for the purpose of obtaining an abortion.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL;
Bill HR 1218
; vote number 1999-261
on Jun 30, 1999
Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record.
Oberstar scores 0% by NARAL on pro-choice voting record
For over thirty years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the political arm of the pro-choice movement and a strong advocate of reproductive freedom and choice. NARAL Pro-Choice America's mission is to protect and preserve the right to choose while promoting policies and programs that improve women's health and make abortion less necessary. NARAL Pro-Choice America works to educate Americans and officeholders about reproductive rights and health issues and elect pro-choice candidates at all levels of government. The NARAL ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: NARAL website 03n-NARAL on Dec 31, 2003
Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance.
Oberstar scores 100% by the NRLC on abortion issues
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 NRLC scores as follows:
About the NRLC (from their website, www.nrlc.org):
- 0% - 15%: pro-choice stance (approx. 174 members)
- 16%- 84%: mixed record on abortion (approx. 101 members)
- 85%-100%: pro-life stance (approx. 190 members)
The ultimate goal of the National Right to Life Committee is to restore legal protection to innocent human life. The primary interest of the National Right to Life Committee and its members has been the abortion controversy; however, it is also concerned with related matters of medical ethics which relate to the right to life issues of euthanasia and infanticide. The Committee does not have a position on issues such as contraception, sex education, capital punishment, and national defense.
The National Right to Life Committee was founded in 1973 in response to the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, legalizing the practice of human abortion in all 50 states, throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.
The NRLC has been instrumental in achieving a number of legislative reforms at the national level, including a ban on non-therapeutic experimentation of unborn and newborn babies, a federal conscience clause guaranteeing medical personnel the right to refuse to participate in abortion procedures, and various amendments to appropriations bills which prohibit (or limit) the use of federal funds to subsidize or promote abortions in the United States and overseas.
In addition to maintaining a lobbying presence at the federal level, NRLC serves as a clearinghouse of information for its state affiliates and local chapters, its individual members, the press, and the public.
Source: NRLC website 06n-NRLC on Dec 31, 2006
Prohibit transporting minors across state lines for abortion.
Oberstar co-sponsored prohibiting taking minors across state lines for abortion
A bill to prohibit taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions.
Source: Child Custody Protection Act (S.2543&H.R.1063) 08-SR2543 on Jan 22, 2008
- Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit transporting a minor child across a state line to obtain an abortion (deems such transporting to be a de facto abridgment of the right of a parent under any law in the minor's state of residence that requires parental involvement in the minor's abortion decision).
- Makes an exception for an abortion necessary to safe the life of the minor.
- Makes it an affirmative defense to a prosecution or civil action under this Act that a defendant reasonably believed that required parental consent or judicial authorization took place.
- Imposes a fine and/or prison term of up to one year on anyone who has committed an act of incest with a minor and knowingly transports such minor across a state line to obtain an abortion.
Bar funding for abortion under federal Obamacare plans.
Oberstar signed H.R.5939
A bill to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions and to provide for conscience protections, and for other purposes:
Source: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act 10-HR5939 on Jul 29, 2010
- No funds authorized or appropriated by federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law, shall be expended for any abortion.
- None of the funds authorized or appropriated by federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law, shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.
- No credit shall be allowed under the internal revenue laws with respect to amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or with respect to amounts paid or incurred for a health benefits plan (including premium assistance) that includes coverage of abortion.
- No health care service furnished or operated by the Federal government may include abortion.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting purchasing separate abortion coverage or health benefits coverage that includes abortion so long as such coverage is paid for entirely using non-federal funds.
- Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as restricting the ability of any nonfederal health benefits coverage provider from offering abortion coverage, so long as only non-federal funds are used and such coverage shall not be purchased using matching funds required for a federally subsidized program.
- The limitations shall not apply to an abortion if the pregnancy is the result of an act of forcible rape, or incest with a minor; or in the case the woman is in danger of death unless an abortion is performed.
Page last updated: Mar 09, 2011