Bush Is No Hero of the Pro-Life Movement
While conservatives are celebrating Bush’s signing yesterday of the ban on partial-birth abortion, the president’s true legacy on abortion is getting drowned in the gush. “Thank God we have a president who stands up for the unborn,” said one writer. “God bless President Bush for signing the law banning partial-birth abortion,” said another.
Bush’s actions contradict his rhetoric, a fact clearly borne out in his public pronouncements and cabinet appointments. The president has said, “I don’t think the culture has changed to the extent that the American people or the Congress would totally ban abortions.” Ashcroft has asserted that Roe v. Wade is the “settled law” of the land. Rice is not held to a pro-life standard. Powell is pro-abortion and in agreement with population control. Bush named the pro-abortion Governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman, to head the EPA. This is the same Whitman who vetoed the New Jersey Legislature’s ban on partial-birth abortions, led the fight to get the pro-life plank out of the Republican Platform, worked hard to raise money to elect pro-abortion candidates, supported condom distribution to children in the public schools, and endorsed special legal privileges for homosexuals. Yet people still believe that Bush is pro-life!
Yesterday’s pro-life “victory” was pyrrhic and will hurt, not help, the anti-abortion movement. Indeed, the president passed up an enormous opportunity to say something profound at the signing ceremony. Here’s what he should have said:
No matter what the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade in 1973 or in subsequent rulings, every form of abortion is illegal and unconstitutional. Amendment V to the U.S. Constitution states that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Because abortion deprives an unborn human being of life, every form of abortion—not just partial-birth abortion—is wrong, and I will oppose it with all the influence of my office!
Randall Terry, Founder of Operation Rescue and President of the Society for Truth and Justice, was right when he said: “This bill, if it becomes law, may not save one child’s life. The Federal Courts are likely to strike it down. Furthermore this bill would only insure that unborn children would be murdered in some other hideous fashion. The bill also provides political cover in an election season to cowardly ‘pro-life’ political leaders who have done little for the pro-life cause. Worse yet, this bill would provide political cover for supporters of Roe-v-Wade within both parties, especially the Republican Party whose constituents are pro-life. This enables certain pro-choice Congressmen to support this bill and play both sides of the political fence. If the President and Congress want to accomplish a small, but real step, they should outlaw all abortions after 20 weeks—the age when a baby can live outside the womb.”
Joseph Parker once paid tribute to the great Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He said, “The only colours which Mr. Spurgeon recognized were black and white…. With Mr. Spurgeon you were either up or down, in or out, alive or dead. As for middle zones, graded lines, light compounding with shadow in a graceful exercise of give-and-take, he simply looked upon them as heterodox and as implacable enemies of the Metropolitan Tabernacle.”
Christ would have His followers either hot or cold but not lukewarm. The most frightening peril today is not evil per se but the climate of compromise and appeasement that characterizes the political culture in Washington. There is only one biblical and constitutional stance when it comes to abortion, and that is a total abortion ban. Bush, however, has consistently stated that the United States is not ready for one.
Real leadership means standing up for what’s right, even at the risk of political suicide. When the president says he isn’t ready to ban abortions, he’s no hero of the pro-life movement.
November 6, 2003
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. He is currently finishing his latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.