CQ Flashback: Kerry Flip-Flops On Life (7/5/04)

Despite having a more consistent record on abortion than any other issue in his career, John Kerry yesterday tried to have it both ways again, flip-flopping on the definition of human life. Kerry tried to pander to Catholics and strict Christians but instead raised far more questions than he answered:

But even as he tried to avoid making news Sunday, Kerry broke new ground in an interview that ran in the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald. A Catholic who supports abortion rights and has taken heat from some in the church hierarchy for his stance, Kerry told the paper, “I oppose abortion, personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception.”
Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said that although Kerry has often said abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” and that his religion shapes that view, she could not recall him ever publicly discussing when life begins.
“I can’t take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist,” he continued in the interview. “We have separation of church and state in the United States of America.” The comments came on the final day of a three-state Midwest swing, during which Kerry has repeatedly sought to dispel stereotypes that could play negatively among voters there.

Not only does this completely belie every vote Kerry has ever taken on the subject of abortion, including his support of the late-term abortion procedure sometimes called partial-birth abortion, but it demonstrates the intellectual and philosophical bankruptcy of the Democratic nominee. It is true that Catholics and a large segment of Christians overall believe that life begins at conception, which is why these groups oppose all abortion altogether. Other people believe that life begins at “viability”, the moving target of when a baby can survive outside the mother’s womb. Others still believe that life cannot be defined until birth itself and separation from the mother.
These beliefs and definitions lead to one purpose: to define life so as to protect it. After all, only the lunatic fringe wouldn’t try to defend innocent life, once established. Catholics wish to protect life from conception forward, and others seek to protect it from their definition of its inception. John Kerry, in his remarks to the Iowa newspaper, comes up with a completely different raison d’etre — he seeks to define life so as to protect his political career. Kerry now admits he practices hypocrisy on a scale so monstrous, it boggles the mind.
If life begins at conception, why then does John Kerry not only agree to allow abortion, but campaigns on its behalf? Does he care so little for human life and the souls of the unborn that he cheerfully sells them out for political gain? John Kerry was one of only 14 Senators who voted to continue the practice of partial-birth abortions, which take a fetus past the point of viability into the birth canal and kills it by sucking out its brain. How does that match up with a belief in life at conception?
No. Unlike those who define life differently, and who therefore have a consistent philosophical argument to support abortion, Kerry’s actions do not equate with these professed beliefs. Either Kerry has trotted out a new lie in order to shore up his Catholic support, or he has opened the window into his heartless, calculating political soul. Not only that, but even those who support abortion must be scratching their heads, wondering if Candidate Kerry will toss them under a bus with as much alacrity as he has his principles.
And that really gets us to the crux of this statement. Kerry not only has voted to support abortion, he openly campaigned for it, up to the point that he found himself running for national office. Now he says he personally opposes abortion but felt as though he could not impose his “beliefs” on others. If true, Kerry also never felt the need to argue for his beliefs, to try to convince others of the truth of his own beliefs. Many others, including George Bush and a whole Party of politicians, have managed to stand up for what they believe is right and still be successful. What other beliefs will Kerry find as easy to sell out for political expediency?