Caroline Kennedy Would Push Abortion if She Replaces Hillary Clinton in Senate
by Anne Hendershott
January 2, 2009
LifeNews.com Note: Anne Hendershott is a professor of urban studies at The King’s College in New York. She is the author of "The Politics of Abortion" (Encounter Books, 2007).
For faithful Roman Catholics, the thought of yet another pro-choice Kennedy positioned to campaign for the unlimited right to abortion is discouraging. Yet if Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of Catholics John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton, abortion-rights advocates will have just such a champion.
Ms. Kennedy was so concerned to assure pro-abortion leaders in New York, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on December 18, that on the same day Ms. Kennedy telephoned New York Gov. David Patterson to declare interest in the Senate seat, "one of her first calls was to an abortion rights group, indicating she will be strongly pro-choice."
Within the first week of her candidacy, Ms. Kennedy promised to work for several causes, including same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
In responding to a series of 15 questions posed by the New York Times on Dec. 21, Ms. Kennedy said that, while she believes "young women facing unwanted pregnancies should have the advice of caring adults," she would oppose legislation that would require minors to notify a parent before obtaining an abortion.
On the crucial question of whether she supports any state or federal restrictions on late-term abortions, Ms. Kennedy chose to say only that she "supports Roe v. Wade, which prohibits third trimester abortions except when the life or health of the mother is at risk."
Presumably Ms. Kennedy knows that this effectively means an unlimited right to abortion — including late-stage abortion — because the "health of the mother" can be so broadly defined that it includes the psychological distress that can accompany an unintended pregnancy.
Ms. Kennedy’s commitment to abortion rights is shared by other prominent family members, including Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and Maryland’s former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Some may recall the 2000 Democratic Convention when Caroline and her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, addressed the convention to reassure all those gathered that the Democratic Party would continue to provide women with the right to choose abortion — even into the ninth month.
At that convention, the party’s nominee, Al Gore, formerly a pro-life advocate, pledged his opposition to parental notification and embraced partial-birth abortion. Several of those in attendance, including former President Bill Clinton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, had been pro-life at one time. But by 2000 nearly every delegate in the convention hall was on the pro-choice side — and those who weren’t simply kept quiet about it.
Caroline Kennedy knows that any Kennedy desiring higher office in the Democratic Party must now carry the torch of abortion rights throughout any race. But this was not always the case.
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