Kerry is showing his liberal colors here, for better or for worse.
making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them if they can't afford it otherwise
IOW, in this context, he appears to say that the Constitution gives you a right to an abortion at taxpayer expense if you cannot/will not pay for it yourself. The words themselves, however, do not limit the notion to paying for abortion. Think about it. He is answering a question on abortion, but what he said was that the nation is morally obligated to guarantee that you can exercise all the rights that you are permitted under the Constitution. Guaranteed! By that logic, I should be given all kinds of things that most of us currently work to obtain. IIRC, the Constitution gives me the right to own property. By Kerry's logic, the government is now obligated to provide property for me to own.
His reply succinctly demonstrates one of the great divides between liberals and conservatives regarding the role of government. Most of the political conservatives who support the "right" to abortion would claim that the "right" means it is legal to obtain one, not that the government is obligated to pay for it. That would put abortion on the same level as most other healthcare services and most other economic transactions. Kerry said otherwise.
A large segment of our politicians (and population) have apparently concluded that government can and should guarantee access to any "necessary" health services. I am puzzled by that because: (1) I do not see any comparable guarantee of access to food, housing, clothing or any number of things that are far more important than health care. I can live a few days without food. Depending on climate I can usually live somewhat longer without clothing or housing. Most of us can live many years without health care. There is a logical disconnect here that Kerry has apparently accepted. And (2) I'm not sure how we are supposed to pay for everybody's food, clothing, shelter, health care and so forth if they are all guaranteed as part of our social contract.
While I feel both GWB and JK did their share of limiting time spent answering direct questions and sidesteppping them in favor of using debate time to run their own scripts, I think the following is telling about what we can expect from these two candidates. Granted, each of you will have your opinion on the topic but I think the answer given is quite clear from one and completed evaded by the other. Here goes
Question 17: Sen. Kerry, how can you assure a voter who believes abortion is murder that their tax dollars would not support abortion?
KERRY: I would say to that person exactly what I will say to you right now.
First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today.
But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that.
But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other things that we ought to do as a responsible society.
But as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation. And I have to make that judgment.
Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro- abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know what their options are in life, and making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them if they can't afford it otherwise.
That's why I think it's important. That's why I think it's important for the United States, for instance, not to have this rigid ideological restriction on helping families around the world to be able to make a smart decision about family planning.
You'll help prevent AIDS.
You'll help prevent unwanted children, unwanted pregnancies.
You'll actually do a better job, I think, of passing on the moral responsibility that is expressed in your question. And I truly respect it.
BUSH: I'm trying to decipher that.
My answer is, we're not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion.
This is an issue that divides America, but certainly reasonable people can agree on how to reduce abortions in America.
I signed the partial-birth -- the ban on partial-birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. It's one way to help reduce abortions. My opponent voted against the ban.
I think there ought to be parental notification laws. He's against them.
I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
In other words, if you're a mom and you're pregnant and you get killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. My opponent was against that.
These are reasonable ways to help promote a culture of life in America. I think it is a worthy goal in America to have every child protected by law and welcomed in life.
I also think we ought to continue to have good adoption law as an alternative to abortion.
And we need to promote maternity group homes, which my administration has done.
Culture of life is really important for a country to have if it's going to be a hospitable society.
Bush is quite concise. I, too, am still trying to decipher Kerry's answer but believe he is trying to hide it somewhere in the text I have bolded. But, he speaks of the Constitution and I have yet to find any language in it that speaks to the issue of abortion rights or a provision that would suggest that the federal government would be liable or proper in funding such. Also, one could interpret from the next paragraph that he would not be opposed to using US tax dollars to fund abortions around the world if he considers abortion as a component of "family planning".
Well, whether you liked or disliked the answer, at least you got one.