Catholic League president William Donohue offered the following remarks today on Senator John Kerry’s interview yesterday with ABC TV anchor Peter Jennings:

“Senator Kerry recently said that he believes life begins at conception.  Accordingly, Peter Jennings asked, why isn’t ‘even a first-trimester abortion not murder?’  Kerry replied, ‘No, because it’s not the form of life that takes personhood in the terms that we have judged it to be in the past.  It’s the beginning of life.’  Thus did Kerry distinguish between human life and personhood.

“Kerry’s dichotomy was advanced by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857 in the Dred Scott decision that legalized slavery.  In that ruling, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote that members of ‘the negro race’ were ‘not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the Government.’  Similarly, he concluded that ‘it is too plain for argument, that they have never been regarded as part of the people or citizens of the State.’

“Kerry floated another dichotomy yesterday that is equally troubling.  When pressed by Jennings whether he could ever imagine himself campaigning against abortion, Kerry said, ‘Well, I don’t think—let me tell you clearly that being pro-choice is not pro-abortion.’  But why isn’t it?  Voters need to know exactly what it is about abortion that Kerry doesn’t like.  What’s holding back his enthusiasm?  In other words, why isn’t he pro-abortion?  And what is it that is being aborted?  A human life that is not a person?  Does even Kerry believe this to be true?

“Kerry wants the Catholic vote.  According to an AP story today, the Massachusetts delegates are mostly Catholic.  But they describe themselves as ‘non-practicing, lapsed, recovering and even ‘unhappy’ Catholics.’  These are the kind of Catholics who gravitate to Kerry.  They are also the kind who like his tortured logic on abortion.  Unfortunately for Kerry, they are not representative of most Catholics.  Practicing Catholics know that a baby is a person, and persons have rights, beginning with the right to be born.”

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