By Dave Andrusko
From the perspective of Planned Parenthood, Naral Pro-Choice America, and the Feminist Majority, it was fitting and proper that U2's "It's a Beautiful Day" should be reverberating in the background.
Two days later, on April 25, the pro-abortion "March for Women's Lives" would draw a sizeable crowd to Washington, D.C., including a huge contingent of sympathetic reporters. But today, presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Senator John Kerry was there in the flesh to remind the leaders of the Abortion Establishment that the junior senator from Massachusetts was their candidate.
Kerry's appearance at the April 23 gathering organized by his campaign was a true love fest. A quick peck on the cheek of retiring NARAL President Kate Michelman symbolized what amounted to an exchange of political vows.
For the first time Planned Parenthood's political action arm - - the Planned Parenthood Action Fund - - would endorse a presidential candidate, John Kerry, according to director, Gloria Feldt (who doubles as the president of Planned Parenthood). Michelman pledged, "Nothing is more important to NARAL Pro-Choice America, nothing is more important to me" than electing Kerry the next President.
She vowed that pro-choicers would wear out the soles of so many shoes canvassing for Kerry "that come November, our national shoe leather industry will be in the throes of an historic boom."
For his part, Sen. Kerry described Ms. Michelman as nothing less than "one of the great modern day civil rights leaders in the United States." For good measure Kerry ridiculed pro-life President George W. Bush's opposition to abortion as but a "political weapon" that is "used by politicians in this nation."
Sen. Kerry employed parts of his standard stump speech, thrashing President Bush for alleged failures on all fronts. But abortion was the reason the cream of the Abortion Establishment was there to pledge their allegiance.
Kerry, however, was also sensitive enough to know that the public has heard a great deal lately about the barbaric partial-birth abortion technique. Even more than usual, Kerry strove to deny that he was "pro-abortion." Rather, he described his position as pro-"right to privacy," which is needed, he said, to "protect the full measure of rights of human beings in our country."
Caught up in a flush of excitement, Feldt and Michelman engaged in a kind of one-upsmanship to see who could describe the upcoming election in the most apocalyptic terms.
"The outcome of this election is critical to the lives of women and men and families, both here and abroad," Feldt avowed. "Make no mistake about it, there is a war on choice and it is a war we must win and we can win." Michelman did her one better.
"This is our moment and it's John Kerry's moment for this nation," Michelman insisted. "There has never, not in my life, not in NARAL Pro-Choice America's life, not in our country's life, never, never been a more important presidential election for the women of this nation and the women of the world."
Echoing the mantra for the 2004 elections (the same mantra we hear every two years!), Kerry intoned, "More than 30 years after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, it has never been more at risk than it is today." While he at times was content to leave the heavy lifting to Feldt and Michelman, Kerry offered a curious condemnation of President Bush.
"Gloria and all people of the country who have been concerned about rights understand that this president came to office with a specific ideological goal," Kerry said. "He set out and said, and I quote him, 'what we need in the courts of America are good conservative judges.'"
Only in the most hard-core pro-abortion precincts would the audience interpret this as representing a malevolent undertaking.
Curiously, Kerry didn't reiterate for the assembled gathering what he specifically said earlier this year to the Associated Press: "I am proud that I am the only presidential candidate to pledge that I will support only pro-choice judges to the Supreme Court." Also missing was his response when a reporter asked him the question, what would his first executive order as President be: "Reverse the [pro-life] Mexico City policy."
Nor, apparently, did Kerry feel the need to mention that his new campaign manager was associated with EMILY's List, a PAC that lends its considerable resources only to pro-abortion female Democratic candidates.
But, come to think of it, given how canny and politically sophisticated were his listeners, who needed to be reminded that Kerry had hired NARAL's vice president as his communications director? Or that Kerry had voted against passing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act on six occasions? Or that he had voted most recently against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
Michelman is so sure of Kerry that she once assured the New York Times, "Even on the most difficult issues, we've never had to worry about John Kerry's position."
A position that might aptly be described as in the Abortion Establishment's back pocket.