Don't Believe the Media Portrayal of Bush as Not Pro-Life
From: The Pro-Life Infonet <infonet@...>
Reply-To: Steven Ertelt <infonet@...>
Subject: Don't Believe the Media Portrayal of Bush as Not Pro-Life
Source: Cybercast News Service; November 26, 2002
Don't Believe the Media Portrayal of Bush as Not Pro-Life
by Paul Weyrich
[Pro-Life Infonet Note: Paul M. Weyrich is chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.]
Right after Republicans won their unexpected victory in the off-year elections, an article appeared in the front section of The Washington Post that suggested prominent Bush aides were concerned that the Republicans were going to push those dreadful social issues.
Soon to be Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R- MS) said he intended to bring up the partial birth
abortion bill which had passed the House by a near-two to one margin this year, but which then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) failed to call up in the Senate.
The Post piece said that Bush aides expressed dismay over this development and suggested that Bush dealing with partial birth abortion at the beginning of the 108th Congress was equivalent to Bill Clinton's calling up gays in the military as soon as he took office. Never mind that the partial birth abortion measure is favored by over 70 percent of the public, whereas Clinton's initiative on gays in the military was opposed by a similar majority.
Anyway, a senior White House aide told me that the morning that piece appeared in the Post, Bush staff members, at their regular early-morning meeting, looked at each other and said, "Who could have said that?" Later, they concluded that the piece was concocted by the Post. That paper HATES the social issues and it may be that this was their way of whistling past the graveyard.
The article had its impact, however. Social conservatives, who are used to being betrayed by Republicans, mostly believed the Post piece and were downhearted. "Once again we've been had," the leader of a national Christian group told me. "They want our work at the grass roots level. Then as soon as they get in, they kick us in the face."
The problem is that there is no truth to the Post story. If someone did indeed give those anonymous quotes to the Post, they were not in a position to know or influence Bush's mindset on the issue. Look at the record of the Bush Administration during its first two years, just on the issue of the sanctity of life.
The administration, through the Department of Justice, formally supported the Ohio law on partial birth abortion in the courts.
The President has supported the banning of all human cloning. He urged passage of the bill to ban cloning which then passed the House but which never saw the light of day in the Senate.
Bush opposed taxpayer financed embryonic stem cell research. And he signed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act at a public ceremony.
The administration supported the child custody protection act, as well as the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act.
The administration took a highly controversial position on euthanasia as reflected in the Justice Department's work on the Oregon case.
In another controversial move, the Department of HHS issued a new regulation allowing states to use the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to provide health coverage for prenatal care and delivery to mothers and their unborn children-helping to ensure that low income mothers have healthy pregnancies and that their babies are born healthy.
Bush cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and at the same time, on the morning after his inauguration, reaffirmed the Mexico City policy, which had been established by President Ronald Reagan, but rescinded by Bill Clinton as his first official act in office. The Mexico City policy says that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions either here or abroad or to advocate or actively promote abortion.
The administration promoted adoption throughout the nation with Public Service Announcements (PSAs).
And of course the President made remarks in a call to participants at the annual March for Life and issued a proclamation on the National Sanctity of Human Life Day in 2002.
All of this just as the administration was getting itself organized and on top of many, many other pro-family initiatives.
While it is understandable that conservatives, who have been betrayed many times, would believe the Post, it is surprising in view of the record of this administration, which has done more for life than either the administrations of Ronald Reagan or Bush's father.
Of course, there is more to be done. All late-term abortions - not just partial birth abortions - should be outlawed. The Abortion Non-Discrimination Act and the Child Custody Protection Act didn't see action in the Senate so they should be passed again by the House and this time by the Senate and signed into law by the President. The same for the cloning ban, as well as the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. And there is the Vitter amendment that deals with Planned Parenthood.
And, of course, there is the issue of confirming the President's outstanding nominees for the federal judiciary. Senator Daschle has made it clear that his Democrats will filibuster any judicial nominee in whom they can find any trace of pro-life sentiment. That was why he went to the trouble of getting 45 votes against Sen. Strom Thurmond's nominee for the court of appeals, Dennis Shedd. It takes 41 votes to sustain a filibuster and Daschle wanted Bush to understand he can stop any judge he wishes.
Having won back control of the Senate with strongly pro-life candidates, it is highly unlikely that the Bush Administration will cut and run on the life issues now. On the contrary, the impressive record of the administration suggests that it will continue on the path it started on the day after Bush's inauguration when he re-instated the Mexico City policy.