Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ted Kennedy: Pro-life?

You may have seen this before, but it is a new one to me. Apparently, Sen. Ted Kennedy held very strong pro-life views back in 1971. This is a letter that he wrote to a constituent who had asked his perspective on the issue. It is one of the most well-written responses. If only he had maintained this view the rest of his political career:

Edward M. Kennedy
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

August 3, 1971

Mr. Thomas E. Dennelly
34 Baker Hill Road
Great Neck, New York 11023

Dear Mr. Dennelly:

I appreciate your letter containing your views on abortion. There are many moral and legal aspects arising from this complex issue which is gaining the acceptance of large numbers of women faced with unwanted pregnancies, while disturbing the consciences of a great many other Americans.

Opponents maintain that abortion is wrong from every theological, moral and medical aspect. Proponents are firmly convinced that the woman, alone, has the right to decide.

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 right 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.

I share the confidence of those who feel that America is willing to care for its unwanted as well as wanted children, protecting particularly those who cannot protect themselves. I also share the opinions of those who do not accept abortion as a response to our society's problems - an inadequate welfare system, unsatisfactory job training programs, and insufficient financial support for all its citizens.

When history looks back on 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 moment of conception.

Edward M. Kennedy

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