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John Kerry on Abortion

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President

No undoing Constitutional rights, including right of choice

KERRY: I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade. The president has never said whether or not he would do that. But we know from the people he's tried to appoint to the court he wants to. I will not.

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.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Cannot change Roe v. Wade because of my own faith

Q: Some Catholic archbishops said that it would be a sin to vote for a candidate like you because you support a woman's right to choose an abortion and unlimited stem-cell research. What is your reaction to that?

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.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Embryos used in stem cell research are not from abortions

Q: Wouldn't it be wise to use stem cells obtained without the destruction of an embryo?

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.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Supreme Court justices should be able to make good decisions

Q: If there were a vacancy in the Supreme Court and you had the opportunity to fill that position today, who would you choose and why?

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.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

We cannot force people to share our faith

Q: If the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say to that person?

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

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Bush allows the destruction of life up to a certain amount

BUSH: Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of life. I'm the first president ever to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. I did so because I, too, hope that we'll discover cures from the stem cells. But we've got to be very careful in balancing the ethics and the science. And so I made the decision we wouldn't spend any more money beyond the 70 lines, 22 of which are now in action, because science is important, but so is ethics, so is balancing life.

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.

Source: [Xref Bush] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Will not appoint Justice against Roe while Court is 5-4

I will not appoint somebody with a 5-4 court who's about to undo Roe v. Wade. I've said that before. But that doesn't mean that if that's not the balance of the court I wouldn't be prepared ultimately to appoint somebody to some court who has a different point of view. I've already voted for people like that.
Source: Nedra Pickler, May 20, 2004

Kerry staunchly resists restrictions on abortions

Kerry staunchly resisted restrictions on abortions, including a ban on the 'partial birth abortions
Source: Complete Biography By The Boston Globe, p.293 Apr 27, 2004

Partial-birth abortion ban undermine women's right to choose

Q: Do you support the ban on partial-birth abortions recently signed into law?

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.

Source: Concord Monitor / on-line Q&A Nov 7, 2003

No criminalization of a woman's right to choose

The Republicans want to criminalize the right of women to choose, take us back to the days of back alleys, gag doctors and deny families the right to plan and be aware of their choices - we Democrats want to protect the constitutional right of privacy and make clear that at the center of this struggle is our commitment to have a Supreme Court that will protect the equal rights, the civil rights, and the right to choose in this nation.
Source: Keynote Speech to Massachusetts Democratic Issues Convention Jun 7, 2003

John Kerry on Voting Record

FactCheck: Yes, Kerry did vote against Laci Peterson law

BUSH_CHENEY CLAIM: "Kerry found time to vote against the Laci Peterson law that protects pregnant women from violence."

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."

Source: CNN FactCheck on statements by Bush and Kerry: Oct 29, 2004

Against partial-birth abortion but there are exceptions

KERRY: I'm against the partial-birth abortion, but you've got to have an exception for the life of the mother and the health of the mother under the strictest test of bodily injury to the mother. Secondly, with respect to parental notification, I'm not going to require a 16- or 17-year-old kid who's been raped by her father and who's pregnant to have to notify her father. So you got to have a judicial intervention. And because they didn't have a judicial intervention where she could go somewhere and get help, I voted against it. It's never quite as simple as Bush wants you to believe.

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.

Source: [Xref kerry] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime.

Bill would make it a criminal offense to harm or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime. The measure would set criminal penalties, the same as those that would apply if harm or death happened to the pregnant woman, for those who harm a fetus. It is not required that the individual have prior knowledge of the pregnancy or intent to harm the fetus. This bill prohibits the death penalty from being imposed for such an offense. The bill states that its provisions should not be interpreted to apply a woman's actions with respect to her pregnancy.
Reference: Unborn Victims of Violence Act; Bill S.1019/HR.1997 ; vote number 2004-63 on Mar 25, 2004

Voted NO on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions.

Vote on a motion to table [kill] an amendment that would repeal the ban on privately funded abortions at overseas military facilities.
Bill S 2549 ; vote number 2000-134 on Jun 20, 2000

Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions.

This legislation, if enacted, would ban the abortion procedure in which the physician partially delivers the fetus before completing the abortion. [A NO vote supports abortion rights].
Status: Bill Passed Y)63; N)34; NV)3
Reference: Partial Birth Abortion Ban; Bill S. 1692 ; vote number 1999-340 on Oct 21, 1999

Voted NO on disallowing overseas military abortions.

The Murray amdt would have repealed current laws prohibiting overseas U.S. military hospitals and medical facilities from performing privately funded abortions for U.S. service members and their dependents.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)51; N)49
Reference: Motion to table Murray Amdt #397; Bill S. 1059 ; vote number 1999-148 on May 26, 1999

Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record.

Kerry scores 100% by NARAL on pro-choice voting record

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.

Source: NARAL website 03n-NARAL on Dec 31, 2003

Expand embryonic stem cell research.

Kerry signed a letter from 58 Senators to the President

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:

We would very much like to work with you to modify the current embryonic stem cell policy so that it provides this area of research the greatest opportunity to lead to the treatments and cures for which we are all hoping.
Source: Letter from 58 Senators to the President 04-SEN8 on Jun 4, 2004

Other candidates on Abortion: John Kerry on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts