Monday, October 25, 2004

This blog exists mainly for therapeutic reasons. I am not arrogant enough to think that I post many original or interesting thoughts here. Rather, every once in a while I run into a piece of political commentary so obtuse, so uninformed by facts that I must write an entry if only to contain the violent instincts such a commentary provokes.

One such piece is Fetal Positions by Jacob Sullum in today's Reason, a supposed indictment of John Kerry's position on abortion - from a libertarian outlet:
"I oppose abortion, personally," Kerry told the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald in July. "I believe life does begin at conception."

Yet the senator supports not only unfettered access to abortion but taxpayer-funded subsidies for women who cannot afford the procedure. "I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist," he explained. "We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."
Makes sense, no? Not according to Sullum who goes on,
That position would make perfect sense if Kerry were talking about attending Mass or abstaining from meat on Fridays. But abortion is different, isn't it? If "life does begin at conception," abortion is the deliberate taking of a human life, which is the sort of thing that even a completely secular government usually tries to prevent.
Let's summarize: in a typically brilliant insight, Sullum discovers that "life begins at conception" is not a religious statement per se. And so the readership of Reason gets a column pointing out that the separation of church and state does not necesserily apply here.

Let me spell out the obvious. Yes, Kerry's personal belief is that life begins at conception. However, Kerry recognizes that others may not agree with this. Being aware that he cannot simply legislate personal beliefs - religious or secular - into law, he opposes abortion bans. What in the world is intellectually dishonest here?


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