by Steven Ertelt
November 4, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Former President Jimmy Carter yesterday condemned all abortions and took his party to task for its strong pro-abortion position. He said his Christian faith compels him to oppose abortion because it takes a human life.
"I never have felt that any abortion should be committed — I think each abortion is the result of a series of errors," he told reporters over breakfast at a Washington hotel.
The comments came while senators across town were meeting with Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito and debating whether his position on abortion should compel them to oppose his nomination.
"These things impact other issues on which [Mr. Bush] and I basically agree," the former president said of his abortion stance. "I’ve never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve abortion."
Carter said leaders in the Democratic Party have hurt it because of their insistence on a rigid pro-abortion stance within the party and for party leadership positions.
"I have always thought it was not in the mainstream of the American public to be extremely liberal on many issues," Carter said, according to a Washington Times report. "I think our party’s leaders — some of them — are overemphasizing the abortion issue."
Carter said his party lost the 2004 presidential elections and lost seats in the House and Senate because it failed "to demonstrate a compatibility with the deeply religious people in this country. I think that absence hurt a lot."
Democrats must "let the deeply religious people and the moderates on social issues like abortion feel that the Democratic party cares about them and understands them," he said, adding that many Democrats, like him, "have some concern about, say, late-term abortions, where you kill a baby as it’s emerging from its mother’s womb."
Many pro-life advocates had always assumed that Carter silently backed abortion and he did not take strong actions during his presidency to stop abortions or limit them in any significant fashion.
In fact, during the 1976 campaign for president, Carter said he opposed abortion but would not support a constitutional amendment banning abortions or one that would let states votes on the issue themselves.
Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute at Concerned Women for America, told the Times he thought Carter’s comments were "astonishing."
"He has long professed to be an evangelical Christian and yet he had embraced virtually all the liberal political agenda," Knight told the Washington newspaper. "Maybe with Jimmy Carter saying things he never uttered before, more liberals will rethink their worship of abortion as the high holy sacrament of liberalism."
Carter told the Times he is coming to some policy conclusions he didn’t have during his presidency.
"I can’t deny I’m a better ex-president than I was a president," he said.