John Kerry on Abortion
Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President
MODERATOR: Kerry claims that you had never said whether you would like to overturn Roe v. Wade. Would you?
BUSH: What he's asking me is, will I have a litmus test for my judges? And the answer is, no, I will not have a litmus test. I will pick judges who will interpret the Constitution, but I'll have no litmus test.
KERRY: The president didn't answer the question. I'll answer it straight to America. I'm not going to appoint a judge to the Court who's going to undo a constitutional right, whether it's the 1st Amendment, or the 5th Amendment, or some other right that's given under our Constitution. And I believe that the right of choice is a constitutional right. I don't intend to see it undone. Clearly, the president wants to leave in ambivalence or intends to undo it.
A: I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views. But I disagree with them, as do many. I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith. I believe that choice is a woman's choice. It's between a woman, God and her doctor. That's why I support that. I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade.
A: I really respect the feeling that's in your question. I understand it. I know the morality that's prompting that question, and I respect it enormously. Chris Reeve is a friend of mine. Chris Reeve exercises every single day to keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again, and I want him to walk again. I think we can save lives. Now, I think we can do ethically guided embryonic stem cell research. We have 100,000 to 200,000 embryos that are frozen in nitrogen today from fertility clinics. These weren't taken from abortion or something like that, they're from a fertility clinic, and they're either going to be destroyed or left frozen. It is respecting life to reach for that cure. It is respecting life to do it in an ethical way. Bush's chosen a policy that makes it impossible for our scientists to do that. I want the future, and I think we have to grab it.
A: I don't believe we need a good conservative judge and I don't believe we need a good liberal judge. I don't believe we need a good judge of that kind of definition on either side. The mark of a good judge, is when you're reading their decision, their opinion, you can't tell if it's written by a man or a woman, a liberal or a conservative, a Muslim, a Jew, or a Christian. You just know you're reading a good judicial decision. The future of things that matter to you in terms of civil rights; what kind of Justice Department you'll have; whether we'll enforce the law; will we have equal opportunity; will women's rights be protected; will be have equal pay for women, which is going backwards; will a woman's right to choose be protected? These are constitutional rights, and I want to make sure we have judges who interpret the Constitution according to the law.
A: 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. Religion has been a huge part of my life. Helped lead me through a war. Leads me today. I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith. But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. But as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation and I have to make that judgment. You can take that position and not be pro-abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know what their options are in life, and making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them
KERRY: Bush says he's allowed it, which means he's going to allow the destruction of life up to a certain amount, and then he isn't going to allow it. But let me tell you point blank, the lines of stem cells that he's made available, every scientist in the country will tell you, not adequate, because they're contaminated by mouse cells, and because there aren't 60 or 70; there are only about 11 to 20 now, and there aren't enough to be able to do the research because they're contaminated.
A: I don't support the President's law because it doesn't allow the exception for situations where the health of the woman is at risk. I believe this is a dangerous effort to undermine a woman's right to choose, which is a constitutional amendment I will always fight to protect.
CNN FACT CHECK:Kerry voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (H.R. 1997), which recognized a fetus as a second victim if injured or killed when a violent act is committed against the pregnant mother. This legislation was seen as an extension of the abortion debate, with abortion-rights supporters opposing the legislation, and abortion-rights opponents in favor. Abortion-rights supporters said the legislation was a back-door attempt to chip away at the legality of abortions by extending legal protection to unborn fetuses. Proponents of the bill referred to this as "the Laci Peterson law," as did the Bush campaign. The Kerry campaign said that Kerry "strongly supports making it a federal crime to commit an act of violence against a pregnant woman," but added that a law could be crafted "without undermining a woman's right to choose."
BUSH: Well, it's pretty simple when they say, "Are you for a ban on partial-birth abortion, yes or no?" And he was given a chance to vote, and he voted no. And that's just the way it is. That's a vote. It came right up. It's clear for everybody to see. And as I said, you can run, but you can't hide. It's the reality.
For over thirty years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the political arm of the pro-choice movement and a strong advocate of reproductive freedom and choice. NARAL Pro-Choice America's mission is to protect and preserve the right to choose while promoting policies and programs that improve women's health and make abortion less necessary. NARAL Pro-Choice America works to educate Americans and officeholders about reproductive rights and health issues and elect pro-choice candidates at all levels of government. The NARAL ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to urge you to expand the current federal policy concerning embryonic stem cell research.
Embryonic stem cells have the potential to be used to treat and better understand deadly and disabling diseases and conditions that affect more than 100 million Americans, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and many others.
We appreciate your words of support for the enormous potential of this research, and we know that you intended your policy to help promote this research to its fullest. As you know, the Administration's policy limits federal funding only to embryonic stem cells that were derived by August 9, 2001.
However, scientists have told us that since the policy went into effect more than two years ago, we have learned that the embryonic stem cell lines eligible for federal funding will not be suitable to effectively promote this research. We therefore feel it is essential to relax the restrictions in the current policy for this research to be fully explored.
Among the difficult challenges with the current policy are the following:
|Other candidates on Abortion:
|John Kerry on other issues:
George W. Bush
Third Party Candidates:
Carol Moseley Braun
|Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts