Recently I assembled several past Kerry comments that seemed to show that Senator Kerry does not really oppose abortion publicly or personally. For example, compare his recent statement with the remarks he made at last year's NARAL Pro-Choice America Dinner:
“I think that tonight we have to make it clear that we are not going to turn back the clock. There is no overturning of Roe v. Wade… There is no outlawing of a procedure necessary to save a woman's life or health and there are no more cutbacks on population control efforts around the world. We need to take on this president and all of the forces of intolerance on this issue. We need to honestly and confidently and candidly take this issue out to the country and we need to speak up and be proud of what we stand for.”
Did you catch that? Not only should abortion be available to all American women, all the time, but it should be used as a population control valve around the world. And this is something we should “be proud of.” Not what you'd expect from someone who claims he doesn't like abortion.
And this isn't an isolated comment…
From the Boston Herald on January 23, 2001: “I will not back away from my conviction that international family planning programs are in America's best interests. We should resist pressures in this country for heavy-handed Washington mandates that ignore basic choices that should belong to free people around the globe.” Kerry's support for “international family planning programs” a standard euphemism for “abortion” is an issue he's advocated for some time. If Kerry is telling the truth about being “personally opposed” to abortion, why is he trying to spread it worldwide?
But perhaps the most outrageous quote comes from the 1994 Congressional record: “The right thing to do is to treat abortions as exactly what they are a medical procedure that any doctor is free to provide and any pregnant woman free to obtain. Consequently, abortions should not have to be performed in tightly-guarded clinics on the edge of town; they should be performed and obtained in the same locations as any other medical procedure…. [A]bortions need to be moved out of the fringes of medicine and into the mainstream of medical practice. And by the same token, if our children are to be safe from the danger of fanaticism, tolerance needs to spread out of the mainstream churches, mosques, and synagogues, and into the religious fringes.”
Abortion is simply “a medical procedure”? If that were true, then on what grounds could he possibly be personally opposed to it? He certainly doesn't seem to be struggling with the issue here. And how exactly does he propose to “spread tolerance” to the “religious fringes”? Presumably, he's referring to the people who, as an article of faith, believe abortion to be immoral. But didn't he just claim to be one of those very people? John Kerry says he believes that abortion is wrong and that life begins at conception. And yet he vows to do everything he can to make sure that women have the freedom and right to end that life.
You can say a lot of things about a position like that.
But you certainly can't say it's Catholic.
Deal Hudson is editor and publisher of CRISIS Magazine. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.