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Kerry Says We Should Kill Babies

Senator Waffles strikes again. But this time the flip flop really gets really bizarre.

Kerry Says He Believes Life Starts at Conception

DYERSVILLE, Iowa, July 4 -- As Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) campaigned across Iowa on Sunday with Gov. Tom Vilsack, widely reported to be on Kerry's vice presidential short list, both men dodged repeated questions about whether their joint appearance might be a preview of the Democratic ticket.

But even as he tried to avoid making news Sunday, Kerry broke new ground in an interview that ran in the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald. A Catholic who supports abortion rights and has taken heat from some in the church hierarchy for his stance, Kerry told the paper, "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."

OK reasonable position... But then the story gets weird.

...Kerry has often said abortion should be "safe, legal and rare"...

HUH?

He believes life begins at conception but that it is ok to end that life? (*see update)

The fact that life begins at conception is the very basis on which the Catholic Church and many others oppose abortion. While I believe that live begins at conception, I can understand how others may argue it begins at another point. (they are wrong, but it is a reasonable debate) When life begins is the very core of the abortion debate.

You simply can't say you believe the baby is alive but then say abortion is OK. To do so is to say that we should kill babies as public policy.

But- I can't come down on Kerry for his beliefs. He has none.

Obviously this is yet another attempt to be all things to all people. He is saying whatever he thinks it will take to get people to vote for him. He no more believes that statement than I believe Ted Kennedy is sober.

Ultimately, I think this statement says more about Kerry the man. It sums up his whole life as well as his candidacy. "I'll tell ya whatever you want to hear."

What, if any of it, he believes we'll never know. That is why he still has not connected with the voters. There is nothing for the voters to connect to-- he has no core beliefs. Rather than get people on his side, stories like this open very troubling questions in voters minds:

If he would waffle on when life begins, what exactly does this man stand for? How will he negotiate with other countries?

If Kerry takes a "firm" stand with North Korea what exactly does that mean? It probably means he says whatever he thinks will sound good on the evening news.

In short, it makes you wonder what, if anything, he says can be believed.

Beyond the fact that he is a hopeless voter appeaser, this shows an extraordinary lack of campaign discipline. His handlers must have coughed up their Starbucks when they heard him say that. He simply can not stay on message. He wanders aimlessly from message to message hoping to say the right thing. This has killed many campaigns, Kerry will be no exception.

Forget Iraq, the economy, and all the polls. If Kerry continues to campaign like this he is sunk. Remember Bill Clinton- "It's the Economy Stupid" That was his way of making himself stay on message. Kerry has less discipline that even Clinton but is not willing, as Clinton was, to admit his shortcoming and overcome them.

Kerry better get some discipline fast for he will become a Trivial Pursuit question rather than Chief Executive.

UPDATE: Below the fold

I had a paragraph explaining one of my points better but it got axed in the editing process. From a comment, I guess it should have stayed.:
-----------

Reasonable people can debate where life begins; conception, heart beat, brain activity, viability or even birth. But John Kerry did something unique....

He argued that life begins at one point AND that we can kill it after that point.

I've never seen or heard anyone make that argument. That is my main problem with his remarks.

If he says "viability and you can abort it before that" OK I disagree but it is not completely irrational. But you can't say life starts at conception then support abortion without saying you in favor of killing babies.


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Comments (22)

Is it life or Life that sta... (Below threshold)

Is it life or Life that starts at conception? Does the soul enter at that very moment, or does it wait for consciousness?

Actually, it is possible to... (Below threshold)
Jack:

Actually, it is possible to argue that "life" begins at conception and believe that some abortions should be lawful without legalizing "murder." It is not a politically attractive argument, but you can make it nonetheless.

There are actually two arguments. The first is that while "life" begins at conception, "personhood" or "humanity" does not. Before you choke the tar out of me, recognize that we take that position in other contexts without anybody much worrying about it. Most people -- including most opponents of abortion -- believe that brain dead body (a living corpse), while alive, is sufficiently not a person that removal of life support is not "murder." That person's individuality is gone, so while it may be alive, it is only a corpse. Well, a just fertilized egg has no more brain activity than a living corpse. It may have more potential, but at the point of conception it is, in fact, no more a "person" than a living corpse. So that's the first argument. And I know there are a lot of counterarguments, but this is not an insane position to take. I think it in fact reflects how a lot of reluctant supporters of abortion feel, even if they can't put it to words.

The second argument turns on "duty to rescue" and our notions of personal autonomy. No American court, not even the Supreme Court, can require you to donate bone marrow, or even blood, to save the life of your autonomous child. That is your choice to make, and if you decide not to do it we may abhor your choice but we will not hold you down to extract the marrow.

Well, if we won't require you to donate tissue to save the life of your already born child, why do we require you to "donate" tissue to the fetus that is attached to you? I've never understood that, and do not believe that we should. Therefore, separation from a fetus should be lawful, even if deplorable.

Of course, the second argument is very unattractive from the perspective of both camps of the abortion debate. The pro-life crowd hates it, because it allows for abortion. The pro-choice crowd hates it, because it implies two things. First, the only thing the mother should be entitled to is separation from the fetus. But the right is not to terminate the fetus, it is only for separation, so the abortion must be managed in a way that permits the fetus to survive. On occasion, this would call for a C-section. Second, the strong implication is that abortions should only be allowed within a short period of time after discovery of the pregnancy -- basically, either the woman is against sharing her tissue, or she isn't. If she is, the burden should be to act as quickly as possible on discovery. Failure to do so would be seen as evidence that the woman wasn't actually against the sharing of her tissue, but was trying to terminate the life of the fetus for other reasons (can't be saddled with a child, etc.).

Of course, I don't think that's what Kerry is driving at.

That is the most interestin... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

That is the most interesting view I've seen articulated on this issue.

--|PW|--

Before you choke the ta... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Before you choke the tar out of me,

You know me well.. ;-)

Most people -- including most opponents of abortion -- believe that brain dead body (a living corpse), while alive, is sufficiently not a person that removal of life support is not "murder."

No. I had a paragraph on this but deleted it because I did not want to get too heavy.

You are speaking of an issue of viability.

Many people draw the line of where life begins (and ends) at different places; conception, heart beat, brain activity, viability and even birth. But I've never heard anyone say that life begins at one point but you can kill it after that point.

That is core of the debate. If you want to make the argument that life begins at viability outside the mother FINE but then I don't think many people would make that argument THEN say you can still kill it after that point.

In effect John Kerry says life begins *here* but you can still kill it.

The *here* can be argued by reasonable people. The fact that we should not kill babies beyond that point can not.


That person's individuality is gone, so while it may be alive, it is only a corpse. Well, a just fertilized egg has no more brain activity than a living corpse. It may have more potential, but at the point of conception it is, in fact, no more a "person" than a living corpse.

First, you are again discussing *where* to draw the line. I don't care where you draw it, (for this debate) you don't kill babies after that point. John Kerry drew the line at conception but still argues for abortion.

Second, there are quite a few differences. The guy dying is not about to start a new life. Left alone, the baby will be born by itself. (though that is off the point)

So that's the first argument.

So Nuked.

And I know there are a lot of counterarguments, but this is not an insane position to take.

Not insane, but apples and oranges your arguments don't (with all due respect) have anything to do with the exact issue Kerry stepped into.

Now- As for your meaty second issue I think it can easily be dismissed as well.

By your argument someone should be allowed to cut off their arm because they don't want to donate blood to save it. I doubt the supreme court will uphold the right to self mutilation.

Your analogy is flawed in the context of the courts forcing people to donate blood. A better analogy is that the court would never order an abortion because the father demanded it. It is extraordinarily rare for a court to order a medial procedure.

Further, you don't have to "rescue" the baby, it will be just fine as long as nobody kills it.

Perhaps what John Kerry is ... (Below threshold)
Jess:

Perhaps what John Kerry is saying here is that while HE believes that life begins at conception, he acknowledges that not everyone necesssarily shares that same belief. Therefore, if abortions are going to continue (and he says that he would like them to be rare), he feels they should at least be safe. I don't see it as particularly contradictory.

Then again, I don't see the idea of divorcing the personal from the political as all that far-fetched either. Certainly, there must be things you believe personally -- things that are ultimately impossible to prove or disprove -- that you wouldn't want to see enforced on others by law...

Jess if he had said that I ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Jess if he had said that I would cut him at least some slack. (see my update) But even then there is a problem with it...

Clearly if you say it, you intend to give pro-life people a reason to vote for you. In effect he is claiming to believe what they do... Or said another way, it is false advertising- bait and switch.

If you promise to govern one way, saying you believe something else is pandering at best and misrepresentation at worst.

And I won't even open the can of worms about voting for a leader that does things he does not believe in.

How much of Kerry's wafflin... (Below threshold)
Alex:

How much of Kerry's waffling is really waffling? And how much worse is he than other politicians? Seems to me the media just gave him that trademark because they couldn't find anything else interesting.

Speaking of Waffles, didn't Bush say before he was elected that we can't be the world's policemen, or that every single American would have affordable health insurance by the end of his term? What happened to those promises?

I don't see the waffling in this story at all. Jess seems to share my thoughts on this. Besides that, by "rare" he could mean in life-or-death situations for the mother. If the mother is going to die from the birth, how can you NOT justify an abortion? Either way, a life is lost.

If the mother is going t... (Below threshold)

If the mother is going to die from the birth, how can you NOT justify an abortion? Either way, a life is lost.

Interesting. Let's say for argument's sake that I agree with you, and in a "one or the other dies" situation, mom gets to pick who dies. Will you then concede that in all other situations it's wrong to kill the baby? After all, you don't get to kill somebody else just because he's made you sick or inconvenienced you.

Or were you just trying to score a cheap rhetorical point?

I include a defense of Sena... (Below threshold)

I include a defense of Senator Kerry here, if anyone is interested. (It is written in response to the Washington Post article and the entry is long, so I'd rather not clutter the comments page.)

You simply can't say you... (Below threshold)

You simply can't say you believe the baby is alive but then say abortion is OK. To do so is to say that we should kill babies as public policy.

Gee, that's awfully reductive.

This is hardly an example of waffling. What Kerry's statement shows is that he, too, is conflicted, like many Americans, on the ethicality of abortion. While one's moral sensibilities may be offended by the act, legal ethics generally fall on the other side of the line.

Pirate: Interesting. Let's say for argument's sake that I agree with you, and in a "one or the other dies" situation, mom gets to pick who dies. Will you then concede that in all other situations it's wrong to kill the baby?

Funny trap you have there. This type of binary forgets that there are all sorts of other contexts and situations in which you or I might consider abortion to be a more ethical choice than another.

After all, you don't get to kill somebody else just because he's made you sick or inconvenienced you.

What do you call war?

In short, I don't think Kerry was exacting and qualifying every single bit of opinion he has on the topic. This was an interview, not a book.

And countering the opinion that you have in which he is unclear, or "waffling," he continues by saying exactly what Jess mentioned: "I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist," he continued in the interview. "We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."

I call this responsible, not waffling.

Also, I've written on this ... (Below threshold)

Also, I've written on this topic many times before and encourage you to read a particular post I've made to further discussion (lest my previous comment appear to be an attack).

Abortion, Sex Ed and Religious Morality: A Futile Debate?
[/end shameless plugging]

I actually had an abortion ... (Below threshold)
Liz:

I actually had an abortion (at ten weeks) a little over a year ago. (I am glad I did it, because I am far too immature and irresponsible to raise a child. The father would have supported me either way.) I would never terminate another pregnancy.

After an abortion, before you are released from the hospital, you have to answer a few questions, one being "What form of contraception do you plan to use in future?" When I replied "Abstinence", the nurse laughed and said "I'll write down condoms, shall I?" I insisted that she write down abstinence. I've stuck to my word, and plan to in the future.

I don't know when life starts

One of the reasons my views have changed so much is the recent publication of these pictures. They show so much more than I (and, I guess, a lot of my age group) had ever thought about before.

Another reason is that I have grown up a hell of a lot in the last 14 months.

I don't pretend to know when exactly life begins . . . I wouldn't presume to make the decision again.

Funny trap you have ther... (Below threshold)

Funny trap you have there. This type of binary forgets that there are all sorts of other contexts and situations in which you or I might consider abortion to be a more ethical choice than another.

Trap, nothing. If abortion is the killing of a baby (as Waffles claims to believe), and if the baby's mother is not in mortal danger (think of it as a kind of self defense), how can you justify killing the baby? Please share this nuance I've apparently missed.

What do you call war?

I call it the most harsh way for one country to impose its will on another country ... "politics by other means." It's something reserved for the state and not for individuals. What's your point?

It's something reserved ... (Below threshold)

It's something reserved for the state and not for individuals. What's your point?

Reproductive decisions are reserved for the individual, not the state. Thanks for setting up my answer for me.

As far as the baby/fetus definition goes, I'm not going to say anything here or elsewhere that you or I haven't heard before. Read the link I cited above if you really want my point.

In short, a government that dictates when a woman can or cannot bear children is overstepping it's boundaries. As a lawyer, I'm sure you agree.

It never ceases to amaze me... (Below threshold)
uncommon2u:

It never ceases to amaze me, how easy it is for some men to assume that their belief structures should be impowered so as to dictate to women their responsibilities in child bearing.As long as we ,as a country, refuse to take responsibility for the poorest, least educated, and disenfranchised among us,we are obliged to honor a womans' right to decide how she will adress the risks and responsibilties of carrying a child to term.Until we can ensure that all americans have access to fair and adequate health care,education, and contraception, the debate is irresponsible and narrowminded.Abortion has been with us long before roe/wade and I wonder how many devout christian slave owners suffered no crisis of conscience when forcing crude and unsafe,if not lethal,abortions upon their impregnated female slaves. Anyone who believes that illegal & unsafe abortions didn't occur nationwide before roe/wade is either naive or obliviuos to reality. I'am a father, and personally could not oppose abortion more, personally, but I also acknowlege that I cannot assume the risks of child birthing, and therefore cannot impose my position on those who must.If I were a women I ABSOLUTELY could never go through with a decision to abort my potential child,I would rather die myself,as I would, without question give my life to save that of my daughters.Having suffered the grievous loss of 5 potential children,I know the impact this decision can have.It certainly was a contributing factor to my divorce, but I loved my wife, and she sincerely feared for her health & the health of our potential child, and I forgave her when she could not forgive herself.We could not afford health insurance and this weighed too heavily on her. It comes as no surprise that hmo's, insurance co.'s, and the pharmacutical ind. feverently support politicians who support banning abortions there's an incredibly greater amount of money,primarily average tax payers,to be made in forcing all women to carry to term. We the average tax payers are paying the cost for unwanted pregnancies. Abortion:$200.00-300.00,full term birth:min. $5,000.00, my daughter:$23,000.00. If WE can't ensure that all childern are taken care of after their born, how can WE force women to bear these children.Kerry doesn't want to kill babies anymore than the typical woman having an abortion,the fact that this goes unnoticed speaks volumes to the levels of ignorance and intolerance of the highjacked republican party.AND by the way I don't think kerry is the best we could do for pres., but I am certain that my 4 yr. old could do a better and, without question, more honest job than bush.Too bad for the republican party, they didn't elect mc cain, at least he's trustworthy.

I hate to draw the debate f... (Below threshold)
BoDiddly:

I hate to draw the debate farther from Kerry's statements and towards the moral/ethical/legal question of abortion, but:

"In short, a government that dictates when a woman can or cannot bear children is overstepping it's boundaries"

I don't think that's ever been the point here. The issue is not forced abortion or forced conception. In those cases, the government would certainly be grossly overstepping its boundaries. What the government does, in my opinion, have a right to do, is to dictate that a woman may NOT make a choice to avoid the consequences of her actions (actions taken of her own volition and in full knowledge of the potential outcome) by causing the death of another human being. The "choice" is made when a woman consents to having sex. Contrary to what is apparently public opinion, sex is not necessary for existance. Yes, "reproductive decisions are reserved for the individual, not the state", but those decisions are made before the child is conceived. If you don't want a baby, don't have sex.

Oversimplified? No, worse than that---LOGICAL!

To get back to the original point, Kerry is not actually waffling on this issue--he's just demonstrating that no personal convictions will override his desire for political gain. A scary concept, indeed.

LOGICAL?- Hmm...well th... (Below threshold)
uncommon2u:

LOGICAL?- Hmm...well then I suppose that if the woman in fact had not consented to the sex then she certainly must be entitled to make the decision on whether or not to have the child.

With all due respect Bo, no sex leads to no birth rate, while those of us presently alive don't need sex to "exist",without it we as a species certainly wouldn't last long-avg. human life expectancy:70 yrs. give or take.Besides if you actually believe that humans could be expected to resist the biological urges to procreate,you're not oversimplifying,just naive.

Back to the original point,Kerry isn't waffling, we all know that those among us who hold the abortion issue as a determining factor for their vote, will vote with their respective and traditional party lines. No amount of rhetoric or insight is likely to sway those voters.Kerry, as well as the majority of americans, I pray, oppose indescriminate abortions.Many of us though also oppose the govt. deciding for our mothers, when and how to defend their unborn children.There are better ways to reduce, if not end abortions.


Lauren & "uncommon2u",... (Below threshold)

Lauren & "uncommon2u",

Would you agree that if the unborn is a human being, then no reason short of saving mom's life justifies an abortion?

uncommon2u . . . T... (Below threshold)
BoDiddly:

uncommon2u . . .

There are two problems I have with abortion following rape or incest--I'm sure that's the issue to which you refer. First, I personally think it's morally wrong to impose the death penalty on the child for the crime of its biological father. Second, and more significantly, I think you'd hear many, many cries of "rape" to facilitate an abortion for convenience if there were a specific clause to permit such. A better solution is for the hospital to which the rape victim goes for exam and forensic evidence collection to perform a simple procedure to make sure the sperm doesn't cause a pregnancy.

Now, you seem to be a reasonable person, but you part significantly with reason in arguing FOR abortion by mentioning the necessity of sex for procreation. Humans' sex drive has very little to do with the "biological urges to procreate", but rather with the use of sex as recreation. Every day we resist urges towards theft or violence because of moral convictions to the contrary or because we're unwilling to accept the consequences of those actions. To argue that humans are powerless against such urges is to reduce us to the level of animals, running on instinct alone, devoid of reason and intelligence.

Kerry apparently does NOT oppose indiscriminate abortions, as he voted against the ban on partial-birth abortions, a particulary barbaric act. There are virtually no medical grounds for such a procedure--it is a last-minute (or more accurately, last moment) abortion for convenience's sake.

Lastly, you argue that "Many of us though also oppose the govt. deciding for our mothers, when and how to defend their unborn children." Let me ask you--are these "mothers" fighting for the right to DEFEND their children? Not even close. Even so, the government regularly prosecutes mothers who neglect their children and by so doing put them in harm's way. We are not talking about mothers-to-be resisting forced abortion, but rather about a woman fighting for her perceived right to kill her child. Explain to me, in the "logic" of the pro-abortion argument, why a mother with two children, when she finds herself pregnant with a third, shouldn't put a bullet through the head of her eldest child, rather than kill the one thriving inside her womb.

The abortion debate still hinges upon the issue of taking responsibility for your decisions. You can't drive 100 mph down an American freeway, then shoot the cop to avoid paying a speeding ticket. Doesn't matter that you had a "good reason" for going that fast, or that you had a radar detector for "protection". Speeding risks a ticket, recreational sex risks a child.

btw--the above is likely my... (Below threshold)
BoDiddly:

btw--the above is likely my last post on this thread. I don't want to abuse Kev's generosity in the name of staying on my soapbox. I'd be more than willing to debate further, though, via email.

There's been some very good... (Below threshold)
Mike Price:

There's been some very good arguments against abortion here, but your missing one thing. Our country is based on God's law's and we need to get back to following God's law and that means respecting life in the womb. At conception, life has begun for that human being and as country that promotes life and liberty for all we need to show that with leadership to protect life as God would have it. I don't want to be in the shoes of a person who has promoted taking the life of the unborn either. Ironsun

I think it is admirable tha... (Below threshold)
kim:

I think it is admirable that a person can have their own personal beliefs and not force them on others at the same time.
Kerry is on the peoples' side.
Bush is a religious fanatic who scares me.




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