Monday, August 31, 2009

Switching from pro-life to pro-choice

Following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, some observers took note of his switch from pro-life to pro-choice earlier in his career.

I'm impressed by what Kennedy wrote in 1971, back when he was pro-life:
While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized -- the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.

On the question of the individual's freedom of choice there are easily available birth control methods and information which women may employ to prevent or postpone pregnancy. But once life has begun, no matter at what stage of growth, it is my belief that termination should not be decided merely by desire. ...

When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.
It seems to me that, generally speaking, pro-life converts are eager to articulate the pro-life position and discuss the reasons they changed their minds -- the reasons they were wrong in the past (e.g., Ronald Reagan, Dr. Bernard Nathanson). But those who switch the other way tend to be the opposite: they repeat pro-choice talking points, but don't even try to refute the oftentimes thoughtful, sincere and persuasive pro-life position they used to hold (e.g., Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Joe Biden).