David Limbaugh

John Kerry may have "stepped in it" on the Fourth of July when he said more than he needed to say on the subject of abortion.

Kerry is the first prominent pro-abortion politician I can remember admitting that life begins at conception. In fact, I don't remember any pro-abortion person making that admission -- to himself, much less to the public.

People I've debated on the issue have generally taken the position that the baby in the womb is "potential life" or a clump of cells or a zygote. They seemed to sense that they would have no legitimate argument in favor of abortion if they admitted the baby was a life.

But as secular and humanistic influences have gained ascendance in our culture, I've anticipated the day when moral relativists would become so brazen as to discard their reliance on the argument that "the fetus is not a human life."

Indeed, with the breathtaking scientific and technological advances -- such as the discovery that a baby in the womb smiles and feels pain -- it's practically inevitable that the pro-aborts will be forced to abandon that argument.

In fact, one can detect from the militancy of pro-abortion radicals that to them, at least, the focus is not on what's inside the womb -- whether it's a baby or a potential life. It's all about power, the unfettered prerogative of women to do as they please, even if it means killing an innocent child inside their womb.

So it doesn't surprise me that someone in the pro-abortion camp finally admitted he supports the "right" to an abortion even if it means killing actual human beings in the process. It does surprise me, however, that that someone is Sen. John Kerry.

But you see, Kerry is in a bit of a pickle, considering his professed allegiance to the Catholic Church, which has consistently been one of the strongest institutional forces against abortion. Many Catholic bishops have stated that Kerry should not be allowed Communion because of his anti-life stance.

Perhaps Kerry thought he could cleverly thread the needle, simultaneously satisfying his Catholicism and his contradictory liberal theology, by saying he is personally opposed to abortion but that he doesn't believe he should impose his belief on others.

Kerry stated, "I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception. But I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist . . . who doesn't share it. We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."

But instead of threading the needle, the senator pricked himself with it and he's bleeding. If he genuinely believes we are dealing with life, it's difficult to understand how he would refuse to use the power of the state to protect that life. Unless, of course, he wants to go even further and concede he is a disciple of moral relativism -- a risky admission that might earn him further disfavor with the Catholic Church.

For if you acknowledge a fetus is a life, it's very difficult to justify killing it (with the possible exception of protecting the mother's life) without making a determination that the mother's convenience is so paramount that it must take precedence over an innocent life. That this notion is even "thinkable" is a staggering testament to the moral decline of our culture.

Sen. Kerry's argument that he is personally against abortion, but wouldn't legislate his views on others who disagree, is entirely specious.

In the first place, by refusing to display the courage to stand up against his pro-abortion constituents and defend the unborn, Kerry is essentially imposing his views on others -- the babies -- by default. And they are the only innocent ones in this equation.

Secondly, as I've said before, we do (and must) legislate morality. Our entire system of criminal law and much of our civil law is based on our moral beliefs, from assault and battery to murder in the first degree. If we don't "legislate morality," we forfeit the rule of law and ordered liberty altogether.

Thirdly, it is embarrassing that a person seeking the highest office in the land so misapprehends the constitutional concepts involved in church/state relations that he thinks they preclude the state from basing its laws on moral principles. He couldn't be more out of phase with America's founding fathers.

I suspect that John Kerry will come to regret his recent statement that though the baby is a life we must let them kill "it" anyway.

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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