Drudge, Talon News distorted Kerry's abortion stance

On the eve of an April 23 rally for the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC, Matt Drudge posted an “Exclusive” on his website accusing Senator John Kerry, an abortion rights supporter for his entire career, of an “abortion flip.” Citing an October 1972 interview in The Lowell Sun, Drudge “revealed” that Kerry had once claimed he was opposed to abortion:

KERRY: It's a tragic day in the lives of everybody when abortion is looked on as an alternative to birth control or as an alternative to having a child. I think that's wrong. It should be the very last thing if it has to be anything, and I say that not just because I'm opposed to abortion but because I think that's common sense.

Kerry's statement that he was “opposed to abortion” did not mean or imply that he wanted to make abortion illegal, as Drudge suggested. To reinforce his “abortion flip” claim, Drudge went on to quote another statement Kerry made in the same 1972 interview: “I think the question of abortion is one that should be left for the states to decide.” However, as Adam Nagourney reported in The New York Times on June 21, 2003, Kerry's then-spokesman, Robert Gibbs, noted that Kerry made this statement in a different era, before the Supreme Court's landmark decision Roe v. Wade recognized abortion as a constitutional right.

On April 23, Jimmy Moore of the conservative news company Talon News cited The Drudge Report as his source in an article headlined “Kerry 1972: Abortion is Wrong; Kerry 2004: Abortion is a Choice.” Moore compounded Drudge's distortion, asserting that in 1972, “Kerry went so far as to say he is 'opposed to abortion' because it makes 'common sense' to do so.”

Also on April 23, a NewsMax.com article charged that Kerry has “flip-flopped” on abortion. After quoting a news report from pro-life news outlet LifeNews.com, NewsMax.com said that, in the early 1970s, Kerry “categorically opposed abortion.”

NewsMax.com is the leading conservative news source in the United States, with eight million monthly visitors. Nielsen has ranked NewsMax.com as the Internet's eleventh-most popular news/newspaper website.