UPDATE, 1:53p: In a good Catholic Independent piece, “Good Ted Kennedy, Bad Ted Kennedy,” Mark Stritcherz writes:

The good Ted Kennedy spoke eloquently for and supported the most vulnerable of all human beings….

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In a little-noticed vote in April 1976, he favored a joint Senate resolution to define personhood as beginning at conception.
The bad Ted Kennedy turned his back on the least of these. Not only did Kennedy by the 1980s come out in support of Roe v. Wade; he also supported taxpayer funding of abortion. His most consequential pro-choice advocacy was the 1987 Supreme Court hearing of nominee Robert Bork. Standing on the Senate floor, Kennedy assailed Bork as a jurist whose rulings would force women to resort to “back-alley abortions.” Kennedy’s verbal assault helped defeat Bork, who would have been a 5th vote to overturn Roe.

[HT: Keith Mason of PersonhoodUSA.com]
UPDATE, 11:57a: Ellen Malcolm is the president of EMILY’s List, an organization focused exclusively on electing pro-abortion Democrat women to national offices. Why do pro-aborts avoid the A-word when eulogizing proponents? Click to enlarge…
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I also note Ellen is not extending her prayers, just thoughts.
UPDATE, 11:35a: Statement by Nancy Reagan

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Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. But Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another. In recent years, Ted and I found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and a dear friend.

Why not say the word, Nancy? EMBRYONIC stem cell research, that’s where you and Senator Kennedy found common ground, in promoting the dissection of the youngest of preborn humans.
UPDATE, 11:05a: A statement by Planned Parenthood
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I imagine most would like to die as Ted Kennedy did, knowing a relatively pain free end was coming – and approximately when – so as to use that gift of time to spend with loved ones as well as search their past and soul to try to make any amends necessary with the world and with God.
Kennedy was given all that, a year knowing he had terminal brain cancer before he died at home last night at the age of 77.
Only God knows the condition of Kennedy’s heart when he fell asleep here and woke up there.
ted kennedy young.jpgBut on earth Kennedy never retracted his pro-abortion stance. We know he was capable of changing his mind because he was once pro-life. Kennedy fully understood the magnitude of the issue before renouncing the sanctity of preborn human life, as demonstrated in an August 3, 1971, letter he wrote to a pro-lifer:

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.

Kennedy knew.
ted kennedy older.jpgKennedy was called “the Lion of the Senate,” by most accounts the most powerful of all, wielding tremendous influence. This means his opinion mattered more than others. In my mind Kennedy bears greater responsibility for his anti-life votes. They were not just votes. They were gauges by which others voted… and more. In his book, Onward Christian soldiers: The growing political power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States, Deal Hudson wrote:

Mike Schwartz, a longtime pro-life Democrat who now works [as chief of staff] for [Republican] Tom Coburn, maintains that it is impossible to overestimate the impact decision on the Democratic Party, the Church, and politics in general: “He changed everything. Had Ted Kennedy maintained his pro-life posture, I don’t think American liberalism would have said that it is a good thing to butcher the unborn.”

So here is Kennedy’s anti-life legacy, compiled by a grateful NARAL, which consistently gave him a 100% approval rating year after year after year….

  • Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP, March 14, 2008
  • Voted NO to increase funding to enforce the Child Custody Protection Act, previously passed in the Senate to stop interstate trafficking of minors for abortion without parental involvement, March 13, 2008
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  • Voted YES to expand taxpayer funding of human embryonic experimentation, thwarting President Bush’s moratorium, April 11, 2007
  • Sponsored legislation to force all hospitals, regardless of religious beliefs, to provide emergency contraception to sexual assault victims, September 26, 2006
  • Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions, July 25, 2006
  • Voted YES on $100M to expand comprehensive sex and and availability of contraceptives to teens, March 17, 2005
  • Voted NO on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which made it a crime to harm a preborn baby during the commission of a violent crime, March 25, 2004
  • Voted NO on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, March 12, 2003
  • Voted NO on maintaining a ban against abortion on military bases, June 20, 2000
  • Voted NO on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, October 21, 1999
  • Voted NO on banning human cloning, February 11, 1998
  • I once checked out Kennedy’s office in the Russell Senate Building in Washington, DC. I was scouting for a friendly senator whose office we might use to film the March for Life as it passed by on Constitution Avenue. Ironically, the offices for Kennedy and his staff spanned half the length of the building, with all windows facing the March. I knew Kennedy was no friendly. Sometimes it’s the little things.
    So farewell, Senator Kennedy. I do mourn for you if you were not right with God when you died. I hold out hope you gave your life to Jesus, accepting His gift of eternal life in exchange for His death for us on the cross. Doing so erases the gravest of sins, even one’s partial responsibility for millions of abortions.
    And Senator Kennedy, your death also provokes me this morning into deep mourning for those innocent children.