I think I heard somewhere that there was a vote in the senate where Barack Obama was the only dissenting vote.

I believe it was a vote to validate a war action.

This would be when Obama was a senator.

Does anyone know of such a senate vote?


1 Answer 1


I believe this was referring to a vote when he was a State Senator.

The bill was "Born Alive Infant Protection Act", which was a bill directing that live infants resulting from botched abortions are to be provided medical care (including comfort care to non-viable ones).

However, this was a complicated issue (in short, you can't say "Obama was the only dissenting vote"):

  • The Federal bill was unanimously voted "for" by US Senate
  • Since the federal bill didn't apply to the states, individual state legislatures introduced matching bills, IL including.
  • Obama bitterly opposed the IL State bill and took leadership and extra personal effort to defeat it, including:
    • "no" votes in both Committee voting for 1 year
    • "no votes in floor voting" for 2 years
    • More importantly, extensively arguing against it on the floor debates
    • Even more importantly, on the 3rd year he simply stopped it from even being voted on by the Committee as Chairman.

  • The above means that technically speaking "was the only dissenting vote" is incorrect:
    1. Obama was NOT the only "No" vote against that State senate bill in IL.
    2. But, this opposition did put him in dissent to 100% of US Senators' position at the time (though he wasn't a US Senator himself yet).

Obamas votes and opposition speech transcripts can be found here (pretty partisan site but the links are to State Senate PDFs).

  • Nice detective work. That's definitely not what I would have expected from the question.
    – Bobson
    Jan 21, 2014 at 14:25
  • Just as FYI - there may have been a US Senate bill too. But my Google-fu so far failed to find it
    – user4012
    Jan 21, 2014 at 14:31
  • one problem that this answer has it that you don't even mention what the bill was until the last third of the answer. Jan 22, 2014 at 21:21
  • @DVK I haven't voted on the answer yet, but I was just saying, you'd be wondering that "the bill" was while reading the majority of the answer. Jan 22, 2014 at 22:24
  • 1
    @DVK - I had the same thought as Sam when I first read it: "But what was the bill?". It's much better written now.
    – Bobson
    Jan 22, 2014 at 22:45

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