George W. Bush:

George W. Bush (2001-2009): 

George W. Bush

George W. Bush

President Bush was generally considered pro-life, although some pro-life advocates expressed frustration over the years that he was not as aggressive on the issue as they would have liked.  Among the positions he took were:
Bush supported a constitutional amendment making the procedure illegal – except in cases of rape, incest and when the woman’s life was in jeopardy. But he also added that Americans didn’t support the measure, so there was no need to pursue it. He also added that he not require his Supreme Court nominees to pass an anti-abortion ‘litmus test;”

During the Presidential debates, Mr. Bush indicated that he was disappointed in the FDA’s approval of the “abortion pill” (on September 28) but he added that he felt the President could not overturn the decision.  He also expressed concern that the pill would “because more people to have abortions.”  Later, the Bush administration sent a letter to the state directors of Medicaid saying that the pill would be subjected to the same restrictions as surgical abortion. The letter also noted that funding for the abortion pill would only be provided in extreme circumstances and that state restrictions on abortion such as a 24-hour waiting period, parental notification and counseling would also apply to the abortion pill;

Upon taking office, President Bush reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” also known by critics as the “Global Gag Rule.”  This rule required that all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding must refrain from performing or promoting abortion services;
On November 5, 2003, Bush signed into law the “Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act,” which prohibited a form of late term abortions dubbed “partial birth abortions” by pro-life groups and referred to in medical literature as “intact dilation and extraction.”  Under this law, “Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.” In 2007 its constitutionality was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart;

Bush supported the Texas Parental Notification Law which required doctors to notify a parent or guardian by phone or certified mail at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor girl.  It also allowed a judicial bypass where extenuating circumstances existed, provided a $10,000 fine for failing to notify and waived notification in cases of medical emergency;

On the issue of “common ground,” Bush said: “Surely we can find common ground to reduce the number of abortions in America. This is a very important topic, and it’s a very sensitive topic because a lot of good people disagree on the issue. I think what the next president ought to do is promote a culture of life in America. As a matter of fact, I think a noble goal for this country is that every child, born and unborn, ought to be protected in law and welcomed into life. What I do believe is, we can find good common ground on issues like parental notification or parental consent. And I know we need to ban partial-birth abortions. This is a place where my opponent and I have strong disagreements. I believe banning partial-birth abortion would be a positive step toward reducing the number of abortions in America.”

In his own words:

“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.”
“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.”

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