Monday, July 05, 2004

Kerry on Abortion 

(Written before reading any other blogs)

The news this morning says John Kerry has announced that he “is personally against abortion” and that “life begins at conception” but that he refuses to apply his personal beliefs in legislation because he doesn't feel it's appropriate to impose his view on others.

I find this statement astounding.

Either Kerry is telling the truth about his personal beliefs or he is not. If he is not telling the truth, then his statement is nothing more than an attempt to straddle the abortion issue, as he has so often straddled other issues.

If Kerry is telling the truth about his personal beliefs, then he evidently believes that a fetus in the womb is a human being from the moment of conception. It therefore appears Kerry believes – notwithstanding his own views -- it should be legally permissible in our society to kill a human being who does not satisfy some arbitrary criterion that differentiates those human beings whose lives are protected by law from those whose lives are not protected by law. I have no idea where Kerry would draw his bright line test. Perhaps it would be viability outside the womb (a test which medical science will probably make immaterial within a few decades at most). Perhaps it would be at 180 days of gestation. Perhaps it would be breathing air.

Wherever Kerry draws the line between disposable people and those whose lives are protected for purposes of the abortion argument, the fact that he is unwilling to impose this belief of his on others via legislation implies that he believes that under some arbitrarily determined circumstances homicide should be permissible in our society. In other words, the question of which persons are protected by law and which are not is a matter of politics, not underlying moral or ethical principles.

Now, if it is permissible to designate a certain class of people (i.e., unborn babies) as disposable, why would it not be equally permissible to so designate one or more other classes of people? For instance, why not make it legal to kill terminally ill people? Or the very old? Or the insane? Or Muslims? Or Catholics? The only restriction on who could be designated as disposable would be the collective conscience of the majority of voters. There are people living today who have lived in the kind of society that line of thought engenders. Some of them are called Holocaust survivors.

I will leave it to the reader to reflect upon what this statement of Kerry's reveals about his qualifications to be President of the United States. You already know where I stand.

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