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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Former President Carter and the Abortion Issue

The Washington Times reports that on Thursday, former President Jimmy Carter expressed his views condemning abortion.

Former President Jimmy Carter yesterday condemned all abortions and chastised his party for its intolerance of candidates and nominees who oppose abortion.

"I never have felt that any abortion should be committed -- I think each abortion is the result of a series of errors," he told reporters over breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, while across town Senate Democrats deliberated whether to filibuster the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. because he may share President Bush and Mr. Carter's abhorrence of abortion.

"These things impact other issues on which [Mr. Bush] and I basically agree," the Georgia Democrat said. "I've never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve abortion."

Thank you, Mr. Carter! As a Christian highly opposed to abortion, I have never understood how any Christian could possibly support abortion rights. The only answer I've ever gotten is that "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but I don't believe I have the right to impose my views on others. We can't legislate morality."

That's complete nonsense! Stealing, murder, rape, kidnapping, child pornography, and racial discrimination are all moral issues; they are also all illegal. We legislate morality every day.

In 1858, Senator Stephen A. Douglas, D-IL used the same reasoning to argue against legislating against slavery.

It is no answer to this argument to say that slavery is an evil, and hence should not be tolerated. You must allow the people to decide for themselves whether it is a good or an evil.

Imagine what this country would be like if the "I have no right to impose my views on others" argument had won the day on the slavery issue. Yet this is the very argument many Christians use to justify their "pro-choice" stand on abortion. In fact, it's the argument that Mr. Carter used to justify his pro-choice stand during his presidential campaign.

Running for president in 1976 -- just three years after the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision -- Mr. Carter took a moderate stance.

"I think abortion is wrong and that the government ought never do anything to encourage abortion," he said during that campaign. "But I do not favor a constitutional amendment which would prohibit all abortions, nor one that would give states [a] local option to ban abortions."

So, Mr. President, if abortion is wrong, why would you oppose legislation that would outlaw it? If you had been President in 1865, would you have opposed the 13th amendment abolishing slavery?

Can someone please explain to me how a person can believe that abortion is wrong, yet oppose legislation to stop it? Can someone justify that to me in a historical context and within the context of all the other laws that we already have in this country which do legislate morality? I'm not talking here about people who say they do not believe abortion is wrong. I'm not talking about someone who says that abortion is no different than having a doctor remove a lump of tissue from a women's body. That's another argument, one that also makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but one that I'll save for another day. I'm talking here about someone who says that abortion is wrong, but that it should remain legal. Someone explain that one to me, and don't use the "you can't legislate morality argument" because, as I've already said, that's simply not true.

So has Mr. Carter finally taken an unequivocal stance against abortion? I hope so, but if we read to the end of the Washington Times article, it sounds like he may still be trying to play both sides of the issue, perhaps in an attempt to reconcile his newly stated pro-life belief with his loyalty to the Democratic Party.

Mr. Carter said his party lost the 2004 presidential elections and lost House and Senate seats because Democratic leaders failed "to demonstrate a compatibility with the deeply religious people in this country. I think that absence hurt a lot."

Democrats must "let the deeply religious people and the moderates on social issues like abortion feel that the Democratic party cares about them and understands them," he said, adding that many Democrats, like him, "have some concern about, say, late-term abortions, where you kill a baby as it's emerging from its mother's womb."

"Some concern" about a procedure "where you kill a baby"? How can anyone have some concern about killing a baby? Is abortion wrong or not? Is the being that is "emerging from its mother's womb" a baby or not? If it's not a baby, then why would you have any concern? If it is a baby, then how could you have anything less than absolute horror and outrage?

You can't have it both ways, Mr. President. I'm glad to see you admit that you "never have felt that any abortion should be committed" and that you have "never been convinced...that Jesus Christ would approve abortion." But my challenge is for you and all others who share these beliefs to boldly proclaim what you believe, stand up for the sanctity of life, and join the fight to abolish the legalized murder in this country of over 1 million babies per year.

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