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George W. Bush on Abortion

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)

Build a culture of life

Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life. Medical research can help us reach that goal by developing treatments and cures that save lives and help people overcome disabilities.

To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others. We should all be able to agree on some clear standards. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought or sold as a commodity. America will continue to lead the world in medical research that is ambitious, aggressive and always ethical.

Source: 2005 State of the Union Speech Feb 2, 2005

Partial birth abortion is a brutal practice to be banned

It's important to promote a culture of life. A hospitable society is a society where every being counts and every person matters. The ideal world is one in which every child is protected in law and welcomed to life. I understand there's great differences on this issue of abortion, but I believe reasonable people can come together and put good law in place that will help reduce the number of abortions. Take, for example, the ban on partial birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. People from both political parties came together in the halls of Congress and voted overwhelmingly to ban that practice. It made a lot of sense. What I'm saying is, is that as we promote life and promote a culture of life, surely there are ways we can work together to reduce the number of abortions: continue to promote adoption laws-it's a great alternative to abortion-continue to fund and promote maternity group homes; I will continue to promote abstinence programs.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion

Q: What would you say to a voter asking for reassurance that tax dollars would not go to support abortion?

A: 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 ban on partial birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. It's one way to help reduce abortions. Kerry voted against the ban. There ought to be parental notification laws. He's against them. I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. If you're a mom and you're pregnant and you get killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. Kerry was against that. These are reasonable ways to help promote a culture of life in America. It's a worthy goal in America to have every child protected by law and welcomed in life. We ought to continue to have good adoption law as an alternative to abortion. We need to promote maternity group homes, which my administration has done.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

First president to fund embryonic stem cell research

BUSH: Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of life. I'm the first president ever to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. I did so because I, too, hope that we'll discover cures from the stem cells. But we've got to be very careful in balancing the ethics and the science. And so I made the decision we wouldn't spend any more money beyond the 70 lines, 22 of which are now in action, because science is important, but so is ethics, so is balancing life.

KERRY: Bush says he's allowed it, which means he's going to allow the destruction of life up to a certain amount, and then he isn't going to allow it. But let me tell you point blank, the lines of stem cells that he's made available, every scientist in the country will tell you, not adequate, because they're contaminated by mouse cells, and because there aren't 60 or 70; there are only about 11 to 20 now, and there aren't enough to be able to do the research because they're contaminated.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Kerry voted no on partial-birth abortion ban

KERRY: I'm against the partial-birth abortion, but you've got to have an exception for the life of the mother and the health of the mother under the strictest test of bodily injury to the mother. Secondly, with respect to parental notification, I'm not going to require a 16- or 17-year-old kid who's been raped by her father and who's pregnant to have to notify her father. So you got to have a judicial intervention. And because they didn't have a judicial intervention where she could go somewhere and get help, I voted against it. It's never quite as simple as Bush wants you to believe.

BUSH: Well, it's pretty simple when they say, "Are you for a ban on partial-birth abortion, yes or no?" And he was given a chance to vote, and he voted no. And that's just the way it is. That's a vote. It came right up. It's clear for everybody to see. And as I said, you can run, but you can't hide. It's the reality.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Must make a place for the unborn child

I support welfare reform that strengthens family and requires work. Because a caring society will value its weakest members, we must make a place for the unborn child.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

Kerry's abortion stance shows the wrong priorities

AD ANNOUNCER: When it comes to issues that affect our families, are John Kerry's priorities the same as yours? Kerry voted against parental notification for teenage abortions. Kerry even voted to allow schools to hand out the morning after pill without parents' knowledge. He voted to take control away from parents by taking away their right to know. John Kerry has his priorities.˙ The question is, are they yours?

ANALYSIS: A television ad released July 16 by the Bush campaign attacks John Kerry's priorities on "issues that affect our families."˙ The ad correctly cites two Kerry votes, on parental notification of teen-age˙abortions and emergency "morning-after" contraception. This ad oversimplifies two fairly complicated matters, a common failing of 30-second TV spots. Overall, it accurately highlights for voters a deeply divisive issue on which the two candidates disagree fundamentally: Kerry is a steadfast supporter of abortion rights-even for teenagers-and Bush is a strong abortion foe.

Source: Ad-Watch analysis by Fact Jul 20, 2004

Supports adult stem-cell research but limits on embryos

Bush brooded and waited six months to make up his mind about stem-cell research. I suggested a line of retreat from the political consequences of seeming too extremely pro-life. But Bush did not want to retreat. He held true to his principles.

The specifics of the compromise that Bush adopted are usually credited to Karl Rove: staunch on the content and cunning in the details. Research would be permitted on existing stem lines-that is, on cells taken from embryos that had already been killed- but it would be forbidden on new ones. And the federal government would massively fund research into adult stem cells, cells that came from the patient's own body and that required no killing at all.

The speech announcing the policy was inspired. The speechwriters had distilled a complicated issue into extremely simple language-and presented it to the nation in terms that reassured the country's vast political center that their president was a moderate, reasonable, and thoughtful person.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p.109 Jun 1, 2003

No funds to international groups that offer abortion

President Bush has decided to block U.S. funds to international family-planning groups that offer abortion and abortion counseling, a White House official said Monday. The action, which reverses a Clinton administration stance, will be among the first policy moves of the new Republican administration and was leaked on the same day that abortion opponents staged their annual march on Washington.

“The president does not support using taxpayer funds to provide abortions,” Bush’s press secretary said, refusing to speculate on any final decision to reverse the Clinton administration’s position. U.S. funds to international groups that support abortion had been blocked by former Presidents Reagan and Bush, in what became known as the Mexico City policy because it was announced by Reagan at a 1984 population conference there. President Clinton, an abortion-rights supporter, had restored funding two days after he became president in 1993.

Source: Associated Press Jan 22, 2001

Accepts FDA approval of RU-486 but concerned about overuse

Q: Would you try to overturn the FDA’s approval last week of the abortion pill RU-486?

BUSH: I don’t think a president can do that. I was disappointed in the ruling because I’m worried that that pill will cause more people to have abortions. As to the drug itself, I hope the FDA took its time to make sure that American women will be safe who use this drug.

GORE: Well, the FDA took 12 years. And I do support that decision. They determined it was medically safe for the women who use that drug.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Ban partial-birth abortions, and reduce abortions overall

GORE (to Bush): On the issue of partial-birth or so-called late-term abortion, I would sign a law banning that procedure, provided that doctors have the ability to save a women’s life or to act if her health is severely at risk. [But] the main issue is whether or not the Roe v. Wade decision is going to be overturned. I support a woman’s right to choose; my opponent does not.

BUSH: I know we need to ban partial-birth abortions. This is a place where my opponent & I have strong disagreements. I believe banning partial-birth abortion would be a positive step toward reducing the number of abortions in America. This is an issue that’s going to require a new attitude. We’ve been battling over abortion for a long period of time. Surely this nation can come together to promote the value of life.

GORE: He trusts the government to order a woman to do what he thinks she ought to do. I trust women to make the decisions that affect their lives, their destinies and their bodies.

Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Approval of RU-486 is wrong

The FDA approved yesterday the abortion pill RU-486, but leaders on both sides of the abortion issue say debate over the pill will continue. The FDA approved the drug under a regulation that gives the agency more leeway to impose tighter restrictions or even take it off the market.“The FDA’s decision to approve the abortion pill RU-486 is wrong,” Bush said in a statement. “As president, I will work to build a culture that respects life.”
Source: Rita Rubin, USA Today, p. 1A Sep 29, 2000

Good people can disagree; but let’s value life

I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life -- the life of the elderly and the sick, the life of the young, and the life of the unborn. I know good people disagree on this issue, but surely we can agree on ways to value life by promoting adoption and parental notification, and when Congress sends me a bill against partial-birth abortion, I will sign it into law.
Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000

Every child born and unborn ought to be protected

Bush opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life. He’ll try to seem non-threatening, respecting others’ views without backing off his long-held “pro-life” position. He previously had said he would not demand that his Supreme Court nominees be anti-abortion. It’s even conceivable he’ll choose a running mate who supports abortion rights, Bush said. “I’m going to talk about the culture of life,” he continued. “I’ve set the goal that every child born and unborn ought to be protected. But I recognize [that many] people don’t necessarily agree with the goal. People appreciate somebody who sets a tone, a tone that values life, but recognizes that people disagree.“ He pointed out that those gun-toting killers at Columbine High School did not value life; they ”devalued“ it.
Source: George Skelton, Los Angeles Times Jun 5, 2000

Welcome all children; supports adoption tax credits

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Supports GOP abortion plank but disagrees on exceptions

McCAIN [to Bush]: Do you believe in the exemption, in the case of abortion, for rape, incest, and life of the mother?
BUSH: Yeah, I do.
McCain: [But you] support the pro-life plank [in the Republican Party platform]?
BUSH: I do.
McCAIN: So, in other words, your position is that you believe there’s an exemption for rape, incest and the life of the mother, but you want the platform that you’re supposed to be leading to have no exemption. Help me out there, will you?
BUSH: I will. The platform doesn’t talk about what specifically should be in the constitutional amendment. The platform speaks about a constitutional amendment. It doesn’t refer to how that constitutional amendment ought to be defined.
McCAIN: If you read the platform, it has no exceptions.
BUSH: John, I think we need to keep the platform the way it is. This is a pro-life party.
McCAIN: Then you are contradicting your platform.
Source: GOP Debate on the Larry King Show Feb 15, 2000

No Republican will allow partial-birth abortion

Q: What is your opinion on partial-birth abortion?
A: The next president should set this goal for America: Every child, born and unborn, protected in law and welcomed into life. That’s what the next president ought to do. The question is which one of us can lead America to appreciate life. All three of us will sign a ban on partial-birth abortion. Gore will sit there and justify partial-birth abortion. I don’t know how he can justify partial-birth abortion.
Source: GOP Debate on the Larry King Show Feb 15, 2000

Ideal: Value every life; but many steps to get there

I believe that life is valuable, even when it is unwanted, even when it is physically imperfect. I believe our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and the weak. And I believe our nation should set a goal: that unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law. This is the ideal: a generous society that values every life. I know there are many steps on this road. A democracy is ruled by consensus, not by edict. Laws are changed as minds are persuaded.
Source: “Parental Notification Law” Jun 7, 1999

Supports Parental Notification Law for minor girls

Source: “Parental Notification Law” Jun 7, 1999

Ban partial-birth; ban taxpayer funding

Surely we as a party can agree, that by banning partial-birth, and by having mothers and dads notified, and by not spending taxpayers’ money on abortions that we can reduce abortions in America.
Source: Exploratory Committee Announcement, on NBC’s “Hardball” Mar 8, 1999

Encourage fewer abortions via adoption & abstinence

Bush says, “The Supreme Court has decided [the key issues]. The best public policy is to encourage fewer abortions through strong adoption laws and giving children a clear pro-abstinence message.”
Source: Vote Smart NPAT 1998 Jul 2, 1998

George W. Bush on Supreme Court + Constitution

No litmus test except interpretation of the Constitution

KERRY: I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade. The president has never said whether or not he would do that. But we know from the people he's tried to appoint to the court he wants to. I will not.

MODERATOR: Kerry claims that you had never said whether you would like to overturn Roe v. Wade. Would you?

BUSH: What he's asking me is, will I have a litmus test for my judges? And the answer is, no, I will not have a litmus test. I will pick judges who will interpret the Constitution, but I'll have no litmus test.

KERRY: The president didn't answer the question. I'll answer it straight to America. I'm not going to appoint a judge to the Court who's going to undo a constitutional right, whether it's the 1st Amendment, or the 5th Amendment, or some other right that's given under our Constitution. And I believe that the right of choice is a constitutional right. I don't intend to see it undone. Clearly, the president wants to leave in ambivalence or intends to undo it.

Source: [Xref Kerry] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Prefers strict constructionists, like overturning Dred Scott

Q: If there were a vacancy in the Supreme Court and you had the opportunity to fill that position today, who would you choose and why?

A: I would pick somebody who would not allow their personal opinion to get in the way of the law. I would pick somebody who would strictly interpret the Constitution of the US. I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of Allegiance couldn't be said in a school because it had the words "under God" in it. That's an example of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the decision-making process as opposed to strict interpretation of the Constitution. Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges years ago said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights. That's a personal opinion; that's not what the Constitution says. So I would pick people that would be strict constructionists. Judges interpret the Constitution. No litmus tests except for how they interpret the Constitution.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

No litmus test; just strict constructionist interpretation

Q: Should a voter assume that all judicial appointments you make to the Supreme Court will be pro-life?

BUSH: Voters should assume that I have no litmus test on that issue or any other issue. The voters will know I’ll put competent judges on the bench, people who will strictly interpret the Constitution and will not use the bench to write social policy. I believe in strict constructionists.

GORE: Both of us use similar language to reach an exactly opposite outcome. I don’t favor litmus tests, but I know that there are ways to assess how a potential justice interprets the Constitution. I believe that there is a right of privacy in the Fourth Amendment. When the phrase “strict constructionist” is used, those are code words for saying that the governor would appoint people who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Q: What code phrases should we read by what you said?

GORE: It’d be very likely that [my appointeees would] uphold Roe v. Wade. But I do believe it’s wrong to use a litmus test.

Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

No tax money for abortion, but no Pro-Life Amendment either

Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” special Sep 30, 2000

Supreme Court is wrong: leave abortion to the states

Bush, confronted once more by an issue that threatens his courtship of moderate voters, said he was disappointed by the court’s 5-4 vote striking down a Nebraska law banning so-called “partial-birth” abortions. States should have the right to enact reasonable laws and restrictions particularly to end the inhumane practice of ending a life that otherwise could live, Bush said. He pledged to fight for a partial-birth abortion ban that would meet constitutional muster. Bush has said he supports a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to protect the life of a mother. But Bush has also said he supports the Republican Party platform, which contains an anti-abortion plank that makes no such exceptions.
Source: Sandra Sobieraj, AP article in Washington Post Jun 28, 2000

No pro-life pledge; VP & judges will simply be qualified

FORBES [to Bush]: Let’s pretend George that you get the nomination in August. Would you make three pledges tonight? 1) Preserve the Ronald Reagan plank on life in the Republican platform? 2) State unequivocally that you’ll chose only pro-life judges? 3) Vow to pick a pro-life running mate?

BUSH: I’m going to pick a vice president who can be the president. I’ll pick judges who strictly interpret the constitution and not use the bench as a way to legislate. And I will work to keep the Republican Party pro-life.

FORBES: It’s a typical hedge. Where’s the pledge, not a hedge? Vagaries aren’t going to work. We need something specific.

BUSH: I will have a vice president who can become the president. That’s the test, Steve. I will have a vice president that agrees with my policy. I’m going to have a vice president that likes me. I can’t be any more clear -- you may not like the answer, but that’s my answer.

Source: (cross-ref from Forbes) GOP Debate in Michigan Jan 10, 2000

Would support - but not pursue - a pro-life Amendment

Bush has said he is opposed to abortion and would support a constitutional amendment making the procedure illegal - except in cases of rape, incest and when the woman’s life is jeopardy. But he also says Americans don’t support the measure, thus there is no need to pursue it. But he would not require his Supreme Court nominees to pass an anti-abortion ‘litmus test.’
Source: Associated Press Jun 14, 1999

Other candidates on Abortion: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney

Republican Possibilities:
George Allen
Jeb Bush
Bill Frist
Rudy Giuliani
John McCain
Mitt Romney

Democratic Possibilities:
Evan Bayh
Hillary Clinton
Howard Dean
John Edwards
Russ Feingold
Al Gore
John Kerry
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Mark Warner

Third Party Possibilities:
Ralph Nader
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts
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