John Kerry on Abortion, Stem Cell Research: Actions Don’t Match His Words

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John Kerry on Abortion, Stem Cell Research: Actions Don’t Match His Words Email this article
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by Douglas Johnson
October 29, 2004 Note: Douglas Johnson is the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee.

ON SOME CURRENTLY popular television shows, men and women are outwardly transformed through the efforts of skilled cosmeticians and plastic surgeons — transformations known as "extreme makeovers."

As I watched the second presidential candidates’ debate on October 8, I thought I had mistakenly tuned in to one of those shows.

I heard Senator John Kerry try to present himself as at least somewhat sympathetic to pro-life concerns. Kerry told a pro-life questioner, "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." He then tried hard to sound somewhat supportive of pro-life policies on issues like partial-birth abortion and parental notification.

That isn’t the John Kerry I know. As the chief congressional relations representative for the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s major pro-life organization, I have watched Kerry close up during his entire 20-year Senate career. He has been absolutely consistent in his implacable opposition to all genuine pro-life legislation, right up to his most recent vote in opposition to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act ("Laci and Conner’s Law") in April.

"I am proud that I am the only presidential candidate to pledge that I will support only pro-choice judges to the Supreme Court," Kerry boasted in January.

Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) from 1985 until last April, told the New York Times, "Even on the most difficult issues, we’ve never had to worry about John Kerry’s position."

The three American abortionists most widely known for performing many abortions late in pregnancy have contributed money directly to the Kerry campaign. One such contribution came from the abortionist who in 1992 wrote a shockingly explicit paper on how to deliver a well-developed, living "fetus" feet first until only the head remains inside, then puncture her skull, and remove her brain — the brutal practice that Congress later defined as "partial-birth abortion." It is noteworthy that Kerry accepted contributions from these three notorious abortionists — money that might very well have flowed from the actual performance of partial-birth or other late abortions.

Yet, in the October 8 debate, Kerry proclaimed, "I’m against the partial-birth abortion, but you’ve got to have an exception for the life of the mother and the health of the mother under the strictest test of bodily injury to the mother."

First, even the abortion industry has admitted that the vast majority of partial-birth abortions are performed on healthy babies of healthy mothers. Second, Kerry knows very well that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban has always had an explicit exception to save the life of the mother.

But Kerry voted repeatedly for ‘substitute amendments" to allow partial-birth abortion with no restrictions during the period that the vast majority are performed (the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy), and to allow abortions even in the seventh month and later for "health" reasons — a term that encompasses claims of mental and emotional benefits.

After these gutting amendments were rejected, Kerry voted against passing the ban on partial-birth abortions every chance he got — six times. On the day President Bush signed the bill, Kerry issued a press release characterizing that act as part of "a right wing assault on the rights of women."

In the debate, Kerry led viewers to believe that he supports requiring parental notification before an abortion can be performed on a minor daughter, if the law provides the option of going to a judge instead. But he has consistently voted against bills that contain that exception.

As recently as July 15, 2004, Kerry’s campaign issued a statement explaining that Kerry believes parental notification laws created "risk" of "unwanted childbirth." In order to support a law, Kerry’s statement said he requires "broad exemptions" to allow "grandparents, aunts, and uncles to provide consent," or any "licensed or certified professional [who] certifies that parental notification could put the young woman at risk" (which could include the abortionist himself). How many parents would agree with a federal law to legally empower their siblings and in-laws to exercise authority over their teenage daughters?

In the debate, Kerry expressed support for stem cell research on human embryos created by in vitro fertilization, assuring the questioner, "They’re from a fertility clinic. And they’re either going to be destroyed or left frozen."

But in July, Kerry co-sponsored a bill (S. 303) to promote the creation of human embryos by cloning for use in research. This bill would advance what President Bush has aptly referred to as "human embryo farms," in which countless individual members of the human species would be created for the sole purpose of developing them to a certain point and then killing them to harvest their parts.

Will the attempted makeover fool many voters? I doubt it. John Kerry is currently surrounded by highly skilled political plastic surgeons, but not even their best efforts can conceal the scars of Kerry’s 20 years of opposition to the protection of innocent human life.