Friday, October 08, 2004

Full transcript of Bush/Kerry exchange on abortion

This is long, but it illustrates the differences between the two men.

GIBSON: Going to go to the final two questions now, and the first one will be for Senator Kerry. And this comes from Sarah Degenhart.

DEGENHART: Senator Kerry, suppose you are speaking with a voter who believed abortion is murder and the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say to that person?

KERRY: I would say to that person exactly what I will say to you right now.

First of all, 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. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today.

But 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, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that.

But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other things that we ought to do as a responsible society.

KERRY: But as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation. And I have to make that judgment.

Now, I believe that 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 if they can't afford it otherwise.

That's why I think it's important. That's why I think it's important for the United States, for instance, not to have this rigid ideological restriction on helping families around the world to be able to make a smart decision about family planning.

You'll help prevent AIDS.

KERRY: You'll help prevent unwanted children, unwanted pregnancies.

You'll actually do a better job, I think, of passing on the moral responsibility that is expressed in your question. And I truly respect it.

GIBSON: Mr. President, minute and a half.

BUSH: I'm trying to decipher that.

My answer is, we're not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion.

This is an issue that divides America, but certainly reasonable people can agree on how to reduce abortions in America.

I signed the partial-birth -- the ban on partial-birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. It's one way to help reduce abortions. My opponent voted against the ban.

I think there ought to be parental notification laws. He's against them.

I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

BUSH: In other words, if you're a mom and you're pregnant and you get killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. My opponent was against that.

These are reasonable ways to help promote a culture of life in America. I think it is a worthy goal in America to have every child protected by law and welcomed in life.

I also think we ought to continue to have good adoption law as an alternative to abortion.

And we need to promote maternity group homes, which my administration has done.

Culture of life is really important for a country to have if it's going to be a hospitable society.

Thank you.

GIBSON: Senator, do you want to follow up? Thirty seconds.

KERRY: Well, again, the president just said, categorically, my opponent is against this, my opponent is against that. You know, it's just not that simple. No, I'm not.

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.

KERRY: 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 the president wants you to believe.

GIBSON: And 30 seconds, Mr. President.

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 the reality.

2 Comments:

Blogger Downto said...

For your information, the girl who asked the pro-life question was a graduate of the University of Dallas. Three cheers for Catholic higher education!

8:45 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

SSD was amazing. Kerry was throwing up seven layers of obfuscation at the beginning, but I think GW missed a chance to make the kind of genuine personal connection he seems capable of (and which Kerry is rotten at).

11:18 AM  

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