President Bush, John Kerry Clash on Abortion in Final Presidential Debate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush, John Kerry Clash on Abortion in Final Presidential Debate Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 14, 2004

Tempe, AZ ( — As they did in the second presidential debate in St. Louis, President Bush and John Kerry clashed on the issue of abortion.

While the president defended his record against abortion, Kerry again said he could not impose his Catholic beliefs on others, even though he disagrees with the church on the important issue.

Kerry answered a question about abortion by saying he respected the views of pro-life voters. Unlike during the second debate, he did not discuss his views in favor of using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.

However, he said he would only appoint judges to top federal courts who would uphold the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized unlimited abortion. Kerry also criticized President Bush for appointing judges who want to overturn the landmark decision.

"I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade," Kerry said. "But we know from the people he’s tried to appoint to the court, he wants to. I will not. I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade."

As he frequently does, the president responded by discussing the kind of society he favors — one which places a high value on the worth and dignity of human life.

"I think it’s important to promote a culture of life," the president said. "I think a hospitable society is a society where every being counts and every person matters. I believe the ideal world is one in which every child is protected in law and welcomed to life."

Bush highlighted his signing of the Congressional ban on partial-birth abortion — legislation his administration has vigorously defended in the face of three lawsuit by abortion advocacy groups. He also criticized Kerry for voting against the ban six times.

"It’s a brutal practice," Bush said of the grisly procedure. "People from both political parties came together in the halls of Congress and voted overwhelmingly to ban that practice. It made a lot of sense. My opponent — in that he’s out of the mainstream — voted against that law."

President Bush highlighted some of the policies he will continue to promote to reduce the number of abortions.

"Continue to promote adoption laws," Bush said. "That’s a great alternative to abortion. Continue to fund and promote maternity group homes. I will continue to promote abstinence programs."