Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Kerry and Abortion
Let me start off by saying that this post isn't about abortion per se, but about what John Kerry has said about abortion, specifically in the debate last week. Taken to it's logical conclusion, what he said should raise the ire of anyone, whether they are pro or against legal abortion in the United States. Personally, I'm amazed that more people haven't written about this, as it shows explicitly how Kerry will say anything and compromise any value for a vote. Flip-flopper? I believe it goes well beyond that.
Here's what was said:
DEGENHART: Senator Kerry, suppose you are speaking with a voter who believed abortion is murder and the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say to that person?
KERRY: I would say to that person exactly what I will say to you right now.
First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today.
But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that.
But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other things that we ought to do as a responsible society.
But as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation. And I have to make that judgment.
Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro- abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know what their options are in life, and making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the constitution affords them if they can't afford it otherwise.
That's why I think it's important. That's why I think it's important for the United States, for instance, not to have this rigid ideological restriction on helping families around the world to be able to make a smart decision about family planning.
You'll help prevent AIDS.
You'll help prevent unwanted children, unwanted pregnancies.
You'll actually do a better job, I think, of passing on the moral responsibility that is expressed in your question. And I truly respect it.
Now, if he would have said that he believes that life begins at birth, he might be right or wrong, but his position would be consistent. In this case, it's absolutely not -- in fact, it's downright scary. He has said before (much clearer than he did in the debate) that he does believe that life begins at conception. So, just to make things absolutely clear, he believes that at conception, the baby inside the mother's womb is a human being -- not just a clump of cells. And yet, even with this belief, he believes in the right of a woman to abort the life of that child so much, as a Senator and President, he's willing to fight for it, every chance he gets.
Here's (part of) the President's response:
I signed the partial-birth -- the ban on partial-birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. It's one way to help reduce abortions. My opponent voted against the ban.
I think there ought to be parental notification laws. He's against them.
I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
In other words, if you're a mom and you're pregnant and you get killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. My opponent was against that.
So, like I said, every chance he gets, he supports abortion -- even when the pregnacy is well into their third trimester, and even the most militant of women's rights activists would agree that it sure looks like a human being.
So, let's take his statement to it's logical conclusions. He claims that even though he thinks it's morally wrong, since the Constitution was interpreted to support a woman's right to abortion, he needs to fight for it, every step of the way. Is that the only thing he's counting as important? The Supreme Court and it's interpretation? What if the Supreme Court decided to make Islam an illegal religion? Even though he's against it, heck, it's a constitutional right! What if the Supreme Court decided that severely retarded children under the age of three could be put to death so as to "save them from their own misery"? Again, it's a constitutional right! What if the Supreme Court decided, in their almighty power, that slavery of blacks was fully in keeping with the Constitution? Do I have to say it?
Not one of these scenarios are completely out of whack, historically. Freedom of religion if a fairly new idea, the Nazis murdered mentally retarded people in the thousands, and slavery of blacks was still legal in this very country only 143 years ago. There were people then, as there is now, that saw something, said vehemently that yes, I think it's wrong, but what am I to do? It's the law! Indeed.
So, how can we interpret Senator Kerry's statements on abortion this year? I see only two options. The first is the scariest: that as long as the law says it's OK, then he's OK with it. That's horrible and indefensible. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican. You want someone who will fight for those things you believe in, and if it means changing the law, then so be it. Personally, I don't believe that's the case here. I believe he's just trying to have it both ways, claiming innocence in what he believes is mass murder, simply for political gain. Is that much better than the first option? You decide. In either case, it tells you something very deep and very disturbing about is character.