JANUARY 22, 2000—Now pounding the iron fist on abortion, George W. Bush tried to velvet-glove the issue during the presidential campaign. On Monday, in one of his first acts as president, Bush moved to block funding for international groups that provide abortion counseling abroad.
But on the stump, he was the model of compassion, urging a push for consensus and usually taking a hard line only on partial-birth abortion.
“Surely we can find common ground to reduce the number of abortions in America.” —presidential debate in Boston
“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.” —speech at the Republican National Convention
John 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 the constitutional amendment. The platform speaks about a constitutional amendment. It doesn’t refer to how that constitutional amendment ought to be defined. —Larry King Live
Calling the FDA decision to permit distribution of RU-486 “wrong,” Bush said, “I fear that making this abortion pill widespread will make abortions more and more common, rather than more and more rare.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“It’s not only life of babies, but it’s life of children living in the dark dungeons of the Internet,” he told a group of Los Angeles students. “It’s life of people where there’s an attitude that, hey, somebody’s life doesn’t matter, I think I’ll take out my aggressions in somebody’s neighborhood.” —Los Angeles Times