Skip to content

Orwell, You Were 16 Years Off

January 26, 2010

Big Brother Bush. He was watching over us. Protecting us. Doing whatever was needed to keep us safe.

And now his advocacy of the culture of death has given him a pro-life award! As reported by LifesiteNews:

Jannuary 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Legatus, a membership organization for Catholic business leaders, will present President George W. Bush with its prestigious Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award at its annual Summit, Feb. 4-6, in Dana Point, Calif. Previous recipients of the award include Fr. Frank Pavone (Priests for Life), Fr. Thomas Euteneuer (Human Life International), Judie Brown (American Life League), Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Sam Brownback, and Rep. Henry Hyde.

This is absurd. G.W. Bush was the same president who boasted he was the first president to encourage and actually finance embryonic stem cell research! Here are his own words from 2004 (as found on OnTheIssues.org) :

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.

This is the same president who has followed the culture of death in its degradation of the human person by giving his approval of torture. This is the same president who has entered us into unjust wars and used every kind of manipulation possible to convince the public of the need for such an aggressive stance.

Pro-life? And white is black and war is peace!

Will we see an outcry against this award like we did when President Obama spoke at Notre Dame? I think not. Prove me wrong.

About these ads
77 Comments
  1. Austin Ruse permalink
    January 26, 2010 9:28 am

    As a former recipient of this award, I am proud to share it with George Bush. He was not perfect but he did more for the culture of life than any previous president.

    On stem cells. While we in the prolife movement were not entirely happy with what he did, that is, fund experiments on stem cell lines from human embryos already killed, what he did was tactically very smart. He was able to take the issue off the table for enough years that the science caught up with the ethics. It was in the intervening years that adult stem cell research caught up and passed the unrealized promises to embryo destructive research. The pause that he caused with his decision also allowed new ethical methods of deriving embryonic stems to be developed.

    Them there is Roberts and Alito.

    Yes, he deserves the award.

    • January 26, 2010 9:43 am

      The ruse is up once again here: ESCR is bad unless you are a Republican president; we can say we are upset, but we will still call him a great pro-life witness. See, for some, being Republican is what it means to be pro-life, even if you promote and brag about some of the greatest policy abuses against life possible.

  2. Austin Ruse permalink
    January 26, 2010 9:46 am

    George Bush did not fund or approve funding for the killing of a single human embryo. His actions actually turned the debate around such that we have basically won this argument. Not only that his actions actually moved the science.

    • January 26, 2010 9:53 am

      Read his own words. He boasted about his support for ESCR. Once again, the ruse is up!

  3. Austin Ruse permalink
    January 26, 2010 10:04 am

    henry, I dont think you understand that embryonic stem cell research is ethical if embryos are not killed in the research. This was what Bush was clearly getting at and is in fact what his policy was. Here is the full quote, understanding that Bush is not a great communicator:

    “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.”

    • January 26, 2010 10:07 am

      Austin

      The embryos WERE KILLED. He gave support to those who KILLED embryos for experimentation. It’s like someone giving medical funding to Jack the Ripper. “Well, he had just killed a few women. Might as well allow him to experiment on them now. Nothing wrong with it.”

  4. January 26, 2010 10:08 am

    I fund Austin Ruse’s logic mind-boggling – Bush’s decision to fund ECSR was “tactucally smart” – that sounds like a consequentialist argument to me.

    This “award” is a grave scandal. It is far far worse than The Notre Dame invite to Obama. The equivalent would be for Notre Dame to have given Obama an award for his “pro-life activities”.

    Think about it. On abortion, Bush did nothing. Despite his rhetoric, he show ideological disdain for the policies that would have reduced abortion. As the Declaration on Procured Abortion states, “one can never approve of abortion, but it is above all necessary to combat its causes…it is necessary…to do everything possible to help families, mothers and children.” Bush’s record on this? Appalling. Median real income down 4.3 percent. Poverty up 26 percent (two thirds before the financial crisis hit). Child poverty up 21 percent. The number of ininsured up 21 percent.

    Oh, I forgot, he appointed two big-business-friendly judges that we think might be opposed to Roe v. Wade.

    We know the story on ESCR. I would also add that as well as providing federal funding, he actively encouraged private unrestricted research.

    Not only did Bush support the death penalty, but he gutted all protections for the accused in Texas, and seemed to execute people with a particular glee.

    Bush implemented a torture regime in the United States, lauding something that is also an instrinsic evil and condemned in Gaudium Et Spes right after murder, abortion, and genocide.

    Bush launched a war that on no rational consideration could be deemed “just”, leading to the deaths of about a million people, and uprooting a quarter of the country.

    This is pro-life? This “award” shows nothing more than the utterly depravity of what calls itself the pro-life movement in the United States. It is quite appropriate that it comes on the heels of the endorsement of a Senate candidate who is proudly pro–choice and proudly pro-torture, but who would espouse a libertarian opposition to healthcare reform.

  5. Austin Ruse permalink
    January 26, 2010 10:19 am

    The embryos were not killed with federal money. Was this perfect? Not by a long shot. But what he did was give public policy and the science enough breathing room so they could catch up with the ethics. I held your view back then, but with the passing of years and the winning of the debate, i think what he did was sound.

    On Iraq. The pope may have said this was a bad idea, but he also made it clear that one may disagree with him on that.

    On “torture”. Enhanced interrogation techniques are not torture. No need to go down this dreary argument, but we disagree.

    Death penalty. The Church allows it. Moreover, Benedict has made it clear that one may disagree on its application.

    Sorry, guys. Bush was pro-life. He deserves this award. If i was there, i would stand up and cheer.

    • January 26, 2010 10:26 am

      So, Austin, if Jack the Ripper was given money, it would be ok? And Bush, as MM pointed out, helped encourage MORE ESCR by his federal support of ESCR. He suggested that private enterprise should continue to do MORE.

      On Iraq: there is no standing for a just war position being applied to this war. The qualifications for just wars were not met.

      On torture: you prove yourself so supportive of the dignity of the human person!

      Death penalty: ah another indication of how un-pro-life you are! Completely ignoring the Church’s discussions and concerns with it — “the Church allows it.”

      Your arguments could lead to something like this: The Church allows the death penalty and war, so abortion is allowed as a just application of the death penalty to the terrorist invader in a woman’s womb, and it’s not torture when the limbs are taken off, bit by bit, because I saw no definition of torture which said “having limbs ripped off bit by bit is torture.”

      What a ruse… your position here is no more pro-life than that of Hannibal.

      • January 26, 2010 11:29 am

        I want to highlight this and ask those “pro-lifers” who are pro-death penalty and carefree about the torture question — how would you answer this? Seriously.

        The Church allows the death penalty and war, so abortion is allowed as a just application of the death penalty to the terrorist invader in a woman’s womb, and it’s not torture when the limbs are taken off, bit by bit, because I saw no definition of torture which said “having limbs ripped off bit by bit is torture.

        Seriously, abortion IS a death penalty, and so if “death penalty is just open to debate” then you opened up abortion. And the way “well, this wasn’t defined in this definition of torture” arguments is met by how I saw no definition of torture which said “being torn limb from limb in the womb is torture.”

        And unless you answer this Austin, your ruse is up in my thread. I said “enough” to you. You have kept making excuse after excuse for the cause of death. I won’t allow a so-called professional pro-lifer use their professionalism as a way to support more death in here. I think I would be seen as giving formal support to the pro-death side of the debate if I allowed such a ruse to continue.

  6. Austin Ruse permalink
    January 26, 2010 10:42 am

    If Jack the Ripper was given money for what?

    The assertion that Bush encouraged more embryo destructive research by his federal ban is laughable. Assertions are not fact.

    I am in this debate professionally and have been for years. The other side complained just the opposite. In fact many of them left the country for what they considered more friendly climes.

    On Iraq and the death penalty, I let the Holy Father speak for me. These are questions the Church allows for disagreement. No matter how many times you bring them up, that is my answer.

    • January 26, 2010 10:53 am

      I have said before, what if Jack the Ripper were given money for medical experiments on the women he killed? “Well, it was just a few women.” And of course it would be after the fact. Seriously, that is what you are expecting us to think is a good thing when Bush gave money to those who killed children for ESCR. It was only a few, and after the fact. But beyond that, Bush made it clear that there was no problem with private enterprise doing ESCR; what do you expect would happen with a free market? http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/health/1773.html talks about Bush’s policy and allowing the free market to take control of it — there was no ban on ESCR, and again, Bush gave his support to it.

      You are in the debate “professionally,” to be sure, but not as someone who is pro-life — that is quite obvious. The ruse is up. And yes, it is up. Support for pro-choice candidates with loud applause and giving someone whose anti-life policies have been destructive to the world and increased the culture of death cheers for a pro-life award show you are indeed in this professionally. You promote those who will help keep it a profession.

  7. Kurt permalink
    January 26, 2010 10:44 am

    I have absolutely no issue with George Bush receiving a Pro-Life award. He is a poster-perfect example of what the Pro-Life Movement is in fact all about. Congratulations Mr. President on the recognition.

    Like Austin says: Bush was pro-life. He deserves this award.

    Truer words never spoken.

  8. David Nickol permalink
    January 26, 2010 10:50 am

    The embryos were not killed with federal money.

    Austin Ruse,

    Embryos are not now killed with federal money under Obama’s policy, either.

  9. January 26, 2010 11:04 am

    The President Supports Exploring the Promise of Stem Cell Research

    President Bush understands the pain of individuals and their families suffering through the illness of a loved one.

    The President remains committed to fully exploring the promise and potential of stem cell research without violating ethical principles and while maintaining respect for all human life.

    The Bush Administration was the first to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

    In keeping with this commitment, the Administration:

    *Provided FY 2003 funding of $24.8 million for human embryonic stem cell research, an increase of 132 percent from FY 2002; in FY 2003 the Administration has strongly supported promising research using adult stem cells by providing $190.7 million for human non-embryonic stem cells (adult stem cells, including those from cord blood, placenta, and bone marrow).
    *Clarification of current NIH rules to enable researchers to participate in privately-funded stem cell research without compromising their ability to receive NIH funding for separate projects.
    *NIH currently funds three Exploratory Centers of Excellence to promote basic research on embryonic stem cells.
    *NIH is also engaged in a project on its Bethesda campus to comprehensively analyze the properties of the stem cell lines that are eligible for federal funding, which will provide researchers with valuable information.
    *NIH developed five training courses to help American and foreign scientists acquire needed skills and techniques to culture human embryonic stem cell lines.
    *NIH has funded an adult stem cell bank which provides mesenchymal stem cells to the research community.

    This type of adult stem cell is able to proliferate, which lends itself to the degree of expansion necessary for wide distribution; they have also been shown to have the capacity to differentiate into specialized cells. It is worth noting that Federal funds are available for the derivation of adult stem cells.

    http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20040714b.html

    Oh yeah — find the loopholes to keep funding it and even train groups to make their own! That’s pro-life. If you follow the ruse!

  10. Austin Ruse permalink
    January 26, 2010 11:05 am

    The better Ripper question is would it be ethical to turn over his victims to medical schools for research. The answer would be yes.

    You have to get your terminology right. There is absolutely nothing wrong with embryonic stem cell research only research that kills embryos. ESCR is morally licit. Embryo destructive research is not.

    Did Bush “make it clear there was no problem” with embryo destructive research carried out by private enterprise? You would have to show me that.

    Your snide comments are surprising given that on your other blog you complain about mean spirited blogs. Odd that.

    • January 26, 2010 11:07 am

      I have provided the guidelines established by the Bush Administration which even says “We will make sure you don’t lose funding if you do your private creation of lines.” Sorry folks, the ruse is up.

      And we must remember, the same ones who killed the embryos were the ones doing the research. Though your stand on the ripper’s victims says quite a bit about your lack of respect to the dignity of the human person. Even in their death, they can be objectified. China thinks the same way (look to http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1744991,00.html )

  11. Austin Ruse permalink
    January 26, 2010 11:09 am

    Good Lord, Henry,regarding your post just above in which you flail around trying to prove Bush supported embryonic stem cell research; you are so confused. Your Bush hatred has gotten in the way of your critical thinking. Bush supported ethical ESCR whcih means no federal money for their killing. Did he try to get embryo destructive research banned? No. And it is nuts to think that was even remotely a possibility.

    About the fellow who said above that Obama has not funded embryo destructive research. I believe it has been approved.

    • January 26, 2010 11:11 am

      Austin

      He supported the people who killed them. He supported and encouraged PRIVATE enterprise to make their own lines. He even allowed the training to be given so those new lines could be made. You really show how pro-life you are! Enough.

  12. David Nickol permalink
    January 26, 2010 11:15 am

    Did Bush “make it clear there was no problem” with embryo destructive research carried out by private enterprise? You would have to show me that.

    Michael J. Sandel, in his book The Case Against Perfection, said that the Bush compromise on stem-cell research amounted to saying that using human embryos for research was murder . . . and should be left to the private sector. I don’t remember who said it, but someone said Bush’s decision could be considered Solomonic only if Solomon actually had cut the baby in half.

  13. January 26, 2010 11:15 am

    Does owning the record for people put to death under his term as governor of Texas has any weight in terms of his “pro-life” credentials?

    • January 26, 2010 11:18 am

      Sam

      The “professional” pro-life debater said “the Church allows the death penalty” so it is all ok.

  14. Pinky permalink
    January 26, 2010 11:17 am

    Bush banned partial-birth abortion, reinstituted the Mexico City Policy, required parental consent for abortions under the Medical Privacy Act, banned abortions at military hospitals, blocked the use of federally-controlled drugs for the purpose of euthanasia, promoted abstinence education and faith-based initiatives, nominated sympathetic judges to the courts, vetoed an expansion of embryonic stem cell research, and spoke more about the culture of life than any political figure in recent history.

    • January 26, 2010 11:23 am

      Pinky

      Bush banned partial birth abortion. What ACTUAL good has that done? What lives has it saved? Any? Yes, it was nasty, but I still say, by emphasizing birth as the distinction, it is a dangerous precedent which philosophically acknowledges the pro-choice position. But even if this was on the balance a “good thing” it doesn’t make him a pro-life president, just like Obama opposing the death penalty would not be a pro-life president. We can put things up which Obama has done which promotes the dignity of life, goods which help actual people and preserve life, but I wouldn’t say those make him pro-life. That is the problem: saying “Bush did some things” while ignoring all the anti-life actions and the overall increase of a culture of death which came about under Bush’s reign. Sure we can all avoid the anti-life actions of anyone and say “See, Pro-life.”

  15. David Nickol permalink
    January 26, 2010 11:17 am

    Bush supported ethical ESCR whcih means no federal money for their killing.

    Austin,

    I will repeat once again, under current policy (and law), no federal funds are used to create or destroy embryos. Please get your facts straight.

  16. January 26, 2010 11:41 am

    Austin Ruse falls into the convenient trap of assuming that just because something is not evil in all circumstances, then any Catholic can have as much wiggle room as he or she desires.

    Let’s start with war. War is only “just” when the just war principles apply. The bar is deliberately set quite high, as there must be a presumption against war (see JP2’s passionate call for an end to war in Centesimus Annus). With Iraq, we need only address the first criterion – last resort. Under no circumstances could an acknowledged “preventive war” be deemed a last resort. Undeo no circumstances could the just war principles apply, which means the war itself was an extrinsically evil act. Let’s lose the fuzzy logic, the moral relativism, and apply so good old Catholic reasoning to this issue.

    Death penalty. Again, Ruse exploits some narrow wiggle room to defend Bush against the charges of excess zeal for the death penalty, for deliberately weakening the checks and balances in the system, and actually mocking a woman he executed. That wiggle room only arises when there is no other way to protect society from the criminal, which – as JP2 acknowledged in Evangelium Vitae (and as is in the Catechism) – is practically non-existent in modern soeciety. Therefore every incidence of the death penalty in America is evil. And I don’t want to hear any arguments of moral relativism in defending it either.

    Ruse actually has the gall to claim that Bush’s techniques were not torture (your Orwell reference was so apt, Henry). What can I say about that? The position is that a person can receive a pro-life award while sanctioning the very same techniques that were used by the gestapo and the Khmer Rouge. A person can receive a pro-life award for making the decision to torture people with simulated drowning, and then covering up the murder of prisoners from this very technnique on his watch. A person can receive a pro-life award and support “stress positions”, “cold cells”, continued beating, and prolonged sensory deprivation, denying the intrinsic human worth of prisoners in a way that turns them into (as one their lawayers put it), “a piece of furniture”.

    All this, on Bush’s watch. And that’s not even getting to his record on poverty and healthcare.

    There is something rotten and depraved in a “pro-life” movement that would defend such behavior.

  17. January 26, 2010 11:43 am

    Did he try to get embryo destructive research banned? No. And it is nuts to think that was even remotely a possibility.

    There are many who say the same thing about abortion. Funny how the right to life in the legal system seems malleable based on the party you want to support, isn’t it?

  18. January 26, 2010 11:47 am

    MM What is even sadder is that Bush himself said, “Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of life.” He was talking about destructive ESCR when he was discussing his promotion of ESCR with federal money!

  19. Kurt permalink
    January 26, 2010 11:51 am

    Save Bush was not pro-life, Kurt.

    George W. Bush belongs in the pantheon of heros of the Pro-Life Movement ™ right up there with Senator Elect Brown, Sarah “Death Panels” Palin and Senator John Ensign.

    Legatus is to be commended for finding such a fine example of its values.

  20. January 26, 2010 12:28 pm

    I agree that awarding Bush a prolife award is not a good thing, and further encourages the perception that the national prolife movement is a de facto operation of the Republican party, but I am surprised at what I take to be Henry’s genuine surprise that, first, Bush should be given the award, despite his lukewarm support of prolife legislation and judicial nominations (let’s not forget that Miers was his first choice for his second appointment to the SCOTUS), and despite his other policies, which, however much they are defended by Americanist neoconservative catholics like Ruse, clearly find no support on any nonideological reading of the
    Church’s teaching, and second, that people like Ruse should defend this award in the way we have seen him do. I find this all completely predictable and not surprising in the least. The majority of public Catholic intellectuals in America are firmly ensconced within and financially supported by the political and financial powers that dictate debate, and until and unless our priests, bishops, and lay leaders are able to develop catholic intellectuals who see themselves as radically in opposition to these powers, people like Ruse, on the one side, and Kennedy, on the other, will continue to speak for Catholics from opposite sides of the same (liberal and capitalist) political spectrum.

  21. Kyle R. Cupp permalink
    January 26, 2010 12:58 pm

    I remember watching a press conference in which Tony Snow, speaking on behalf of the Bush administration, tried to sooth fears over Bush’s veto regarding ESCR policy by noting that his veto didn’t prevent private funding of the immoral kind of ESCR. He came across as saying, if I may be forgiven some embellishment, “As some taxpayers find ESCR immoral, we won’t fund it with tax dollars; however, you can fund it to your heart’s content through private means!”

  22. Kyle R. Cupp permalink
    January 26, 2010 1:00 pm

    Historical question: Did federal funding of Planned Parenthood increase or decrease each year when the GOP held the White House and the majority in the Congress? The answer might surprise you. Or it might not.

  23. Gerald A. Naus permalink
    January 26, 2010 1:09 pm

    George Bush is a war criminal, he should be at The Hague together with Cheney and their minions, not getting honored.

    Apart from the fact that he didn’t change anything, you’d think that a war of aggression that killed tens, if not hundreds, of thousands, combined with torture and ruthless economic exploitation (stymied only by people’s “hearts and minds” not won, but rather spilled on the street) should kinda disqualify you from being labeled “pro life.”

    Next year’s winner gets the award posthumously. Attila the Hun.

  24. Kurt permalink
    January 26, 2010 1:10 pm

    George Bush liberalized more federal funding of abortion than any president in history. However, he did it with the support of the Chamber of Commerce and therefore the quiet consent of the Pro-Life Movement.

  25. Phillip permalink
    January 26, 2010 1:22 pm

    There is stem cell research and then there is stem cell research. There’s adult which is completely licit and then there is embryonic. Embryonic stem cell research can also be looked at from two levels. Once derived from and embryo, stem cells divide indefinitely. Experimenting on these does not involve a moral wrong of murder. Funding under Bush was on stem cells already derived and thus no new embryos were destroyed. Development of new stem cell lines was prohibited under Bush and thus the destruction of new embryos was prohibted.
    Just thought you all might appreciate the distinction.

    • January 26, 2010 1:28 pm

      Philip

      You obviously have not followed the discussion.

      1) Bush said he was the first president to federally fund ESCR and when he did, he mentioned it took the destruction of embryos. It’s like China selling off the bodies of political prisoners for “body works.” Not only was their death a disgrace, the continued lack of respect to their personal dignity is easy to see here. You don’t reward people who you think did wrong!
      2) Though his administration, the policy was to train others in how to make more
      3) And he did nothing to discourage the practice in the private sphere, but rather, to suggest that they do so, and made sure if they do so, they would not run any risk of losing federal funding if they have any!

      The fact that so many people think, “Ok, you killed them, go ahead and continue as you were” is acceptable says much about so-called “pro-lifers.”

  26. January 26, 2010 1:24 pm

    I give up.

    If people were actively trying to splinter the Catholic pro-life voice, they could scarcely do a poorer job.

    I guess I should be glad it wasn’t Cheney.

    • January 26, 2010 1:30 pm

      John McG

      That could be their motto for the award ceremony. “Rejoice, or Cheney Gets It Next!” ;)

      In all seriousness, I’m glad to see you understand the problems of this as well.

  27. January 26, 2010 1:32 pm

    I think the more damning part of Bush’s pro-life legacy is that pretty much every bit of it was undone almost by the time he left town at the end of his term.

    What I mean is that he never took a political risk for any lasting pro-life accomplishments. And he didn’t move the culture to greater pro-life acceptance. He just did the things he could do without taking a political hit.

    So, yes, he limited ESCR funding, but not in a way that would last.

  28. January 26, 2010 1:32 pm

    WJ

    FOr the record I think some people that covered the Miers controversy sadi the one reason that Bush picked her was he had no doubt what she believed and would not be Soutered like his dad.

    It was in fact the AG , Gonazales, at the time that was saying to Bush that no one would see that motivation and thus he did not need to put her up

  29. Phillip permalink
    January 26, 2010 1:34 pm

    You do agree though that the development of new stem cell lines with Federal funding (and thus the destruction of new embryos) was prohibted under Bush. You also agree that experimenting on cells (embryonic or otherwise) that does not involve the active destruction of embryos is licit.

    • January 26, 2010 1:44 pm

      Philip

      That’s playing it fast and loose. 1) He rewarded people who destroyed embryos. Who gives such financial support to people they believe are doing great evil? I would never do so.
      2) While FEDERAL funds for NEW lines were prohibited, as pointed out this didn’t mean there was any stopping in the TRAINING of making new lines, and indeed, Bush handed off to the STATES which, if you look, often gave huge money to ESCR!

  30. January 26, 2010 1:43 pm

    Henry ,

    I think the Partial Birth abortion ban has done wonders. It is something that was endorsed by Hadley Arkes who in fact was behind it. I don’t think anyone here is saying he is not pro-life

    First it is incremential and gets people talking about bans or restrictions on abortion. It gets people used to it which is needed if and when State legilatures have to grapple with the issue.

    Bush in order to promote a pro-ife aim on the Stem Cell research issue had to accomodate a evil. On the whole it seems the people not pleased with it were much more from the anti Life quarters over the long term

    This has been done before and I think that is part of the natural law.

    In a sense this discussion reminds me of those that try to say Lincoln was not anti Slavery. Look they say Lincoln to save the Union h would have allowed Slavery in the SOuth. A EVIL. Yet Lincoln was willing to so this accomodation so could it slowly strangled out of existance by making sure it did not spread elsewhere

    Or look Lincoln was not really anti-Slavery because in the Emancpation Prolamation he did not really Free all the Slaves just in areas that were not under Federal Control and gave exempetions in certain areas. Thus Lincoln was not ANTI SLAVERY AND A FRAUD.

    Well that is all happy nonsense. Lincoln made a accommadation for the better good and yes Lincoln was anti Slavery

    TO say Bush was not Pro-Life is similar to saying Lincoln was not anti Slavery.

    • January 26, 2010 1:46 pm

      JH

      Has it stopped any abortion? Has it made people think abortion is bad? No, the people who were pro-choice who supported it supported it because of the birth issue, which of course, is what most say ultimately separates choice or no choice. I don’t see it leading anywhere, what has come on after it? And yes, there are many pro-life people who supported it, but I think it was a mistake because it is a false victory which has changed nothing.

      Lincoln wasn’t anti-slavery.

  31. David Nickol permalink
    January 26, 2010 1:46 pm

    Did federal funding of Planned Parenthood increase or decrease each year when the GOP held the White House and the majority in the Congress?

    By repealing the Mexico City Policy, Obama allowed federal money to go to overseas organizations that provide abortions, but that money may not be used for abortion. For those who feel the Mexico City Policy is “pro-life” and that repealing it is “pro-death,” it must be noted that the hundreds of millions of dollars that went to Planned Parenthood under the Bush administration were “pro-death” in exactly the same way. Federal money goes to Planned Parenthood but may not be used for abortion.

    If the federal government funds abortions overseas when the Mexico City Policy is not in effect, then the federal government funds abortions domestically all the time, during “pro-life” and “pro-choice” administrations. Few pro-life advocates take this inescapable position, but if you search the web, you can find a few. Here is an example:

    George W. Bush is NOT Pro-life

    The thought of calling someone who authorizes over $100 million per year of taxpayers’ federal funds to be appropriated to Planned Parenthood (Murder, Inc.) “Pro-Life”, is outrageous. “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” Proverb 17:15

    By funding Planned Parenthood, President Bush and the Republican-majority Congress are justifying the wicked. Therefore, according to the Word of God, President Bush, and all those in Congress who voted to pass this baby-killing-funding legislation, are abomination to the LORD. So what would that make a Christian who voted “for” someone who is “abomination to the LORD”?

    To vote for George Bush (or John Kerry) is to sin against God.

    I personally would not say the Mexico City Policy is “pro-life.” At worst, it’s pandering to pro-lifers. At best, it’s a gesture. So I wouldn’t accuse Bush of funding abortions. But for those who believe the Mexico City Policy is pro-life, it seems to me the inescapable conclusion is that by failing to apply the same principle to domestic use of federal money as it did to overseas use, the Bush administration massively funded abortion in the United States.

  32. Kurt permalink
    January 26, 2010 2:01 pm

    JohnMcG says:

    I give up

    Welcome, John! Glad to have you with me!

    Henry? Any second thoughts about coming our way? We have a Pro-Life Movement that holds up George Bush as a poster boy. It celebrates the demise of universal health care coverage even when the bill includes no abortion funding, it maintains absolute silence about abortion funding by it political ally big business, it opposes cutting the cost of prescription meds for seniors, opposes the Catholic bishops’ position on SCHIP, it holds weekly strategy and coordination meetings with the National Rifle Associaiton and the National “Right-to-Work” Committee and it gives political support to pro-abortion Republicans but not pro-life Democrats.

    And someone would be part of this movement, why? Reform from within? Really?

    • January 26, 2010 2:03 pm

      Kurt

      There is more to being pro-life than what we see from the political hacks (who I hope are wise enough not to try harassment), and I do not let them define me or my advocacy of the Gospel of Life.

  33. Kyle R. Cupp permalink
    January 26, 2010 2:07 pm

    John McG,

    Most pro-life legislation won’t last because we don’t have a consensus among the populace that it should last, and so pro-life legislative gains are fragile and fleeting. Pro-lifers have to build that consensus in order to give their legislative gains any sense of permanency. Let’s face it, as long as we have an effective pro-choice movement in the country, we won’t see pro-life victories live beyond election cycles. Pro-lifers must persuade pro-choice advocates. There’s no other way.

  34. January 26, 2010 2:16 pm

    Legatus, a membership organization for Catholic business leaders, will present President George W. Bush with its prestigious Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award…

    Welp, if the award was ever “prestigious,” it ain’t now. Legatus is obviously a complete joke.

  35. January 26, 2010 2:17 pm

    Legatus is just another shady Tom Monaghan outfit.

  36. David Nickol permalink
    January 26, 2010 2:30 pm

    You do agree though that the development of new stem cell lines with Federal funding (and thus the destruction of new embryos) was prohibted under Bush.

    Philip,

    The Dickey-Wicker Amendment, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1995, forbid the use of federal funds to create or destroy human embryos. It is still in effect today. Obama did not allow the use of federal funds to destroy embryos and create stem-cell lines. No government money is being used today, or has ever been used, to destroy embryos for stem-cell research.

    What Bush did was allow federal funds to be spent on existing stem-cell lines, or which there were a small number. He did not prohibit the creation of new stem-cell lines by the private sector. He just forbid the use of stem-cell lines yet to be created in federally funded research.

    What Obama did was permit the use of federal funding for research on all stem-cell lines created by private funding, both those in existence, and any created in the future. Federal dollars may not be used to destroy embryos and create stem-cell lines. Any embryonic stem cells worked on using government funds must come from private sources, which have always been free to create stem-cell lines.

    You also agree that experimenting on cells (embryonic or otherwise) that does not involve the active destruction of embryos is licit.

    If experimentation on embryonic stem cells that does not involve the active destruction of embryos is licit, then all government-funded stem-cell research going on under the current guidelines is licit. There is no prohibition on researchers in the private sector to kill embryos and extract stem cells. There is no permission for federally funded researchers to do so themselves. No federal researchers are killing embryos.

    In short, the use of federal funds to create or destroy embryos has been banned since 1995. No federal money was used to destroy embryos during the Bush administration, and no federal money is used to create or destroy embryos under the Obama administration.

    Now, a great many in the pro-life movement object to the Obama policy on grounds that it is immoral to use stem cells obtained from researchers in the private sector who have killed the embryos, or that allowing government funding for research on stem cells received from the private sector will encourage the private sector to kill even more embryos to provide more stem cells. But no one can object to the Obama policy on the grounds that federal funds are used to kill embryos, because this is simply not the case.

  37. January 26, 2010 2:32 pm

    Kurt may have a point. I spend a good amount of time on this blog repeatedly pointing out that “pro-life” in the Catholic sense means much more than what the “pro-life” movement stands for. In fact, the Catholic understanding is diametrically opposed to countless facets of the u.s. “pro-life” movement. Like other contributors, I’ve argued that being pro-life means more than being anti-abortion.

    But this past month alone has provided enough evidence of the bankruptcy of the mainstream pro-life movement, its leadership, and its most outspoken proponents. So much so that perhaps it is time for me to do away with the term “pro-life” altogether as it is completely meaningless.

    I am a Roman Catholic and an advocate of nonviolence. This means, of course, that I am anti-abortion. But it can no longer mean that I am “pro-life” if Legatus, the Catholic Right, the March for Lifers, Mr. Ruse, and opponents of universal health care are the ones who get to define what the movement is. Catholicism is a “pro-life” movement and really has no need for the perversities of the pro-life movement anyway. To hell with it.

  38. Phillip permalink
    January 26, 2010 3:13 pm

    David,

    That is interesting. Do you know anything about this and where it ultimately went?

    “The challenge to Dickey-Wicker may come from two directions: the Obama administration’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Congress.

    NIH, which was tasked by Obama with issuing guidelines within 120 days on funding embryonic stem cell research, may try to circumvent Dickey-Wicker, embryonic stem cell research foes fear. Cloning for research purposes even could be in the mix, some say.

    “As long as they did the creation of the clone with private funds and killed them with private funds, NIH could probably fund the embryonic stem cells from the clone or from the hybrid, because that’s the basic interpretation now of what this new presidential executive order says,” bioethicist David Prentice told Baptist Press. Prentice is senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council (FRC). “There are no sorts of restrictions on when the embryo was made, where it was made, how it was made.”

    Before Bush took office, the Clinton administration drew up guidelines in 2000 that would have permitted embryonic stem cell research funding as long as the stem cells were derived — and the embryo destroyed — using private money. Opponents of the Clinton guidelines said such a policy would violate at least the spirit of Dickey-Wicker and would encourage embryo destruction in order to receive federal grants. The Bush administration blocked the Clinton guidelines, however, leading to Bush’s new policy.

    Congress not only is expected to pass legislation in support of Obama’s stem cell order, with the president’s encouragement, but there may be a move to pass a bill striking down Dickey-Wicker.

    Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado is the lead Democratic sponsor of legislation to turn the Obama order into law, and she is promoting congressional action to rescind Dickey-Wicker.

    “Dickey-Wicker is 13 years old now, and I think we need to review these policies,” DeGette told The New York Times. “I’ve already talked to several pro-life Democrats about Dickey-Wicker, and they seemed open to the concept of reversing the policy if we could show that it was necessary to foster this research.”

  39. Pinky permalink
    January 26, 2010 3:20 pm

    JohnMcG – My cut-and-paste function isn’t working, so excuse my paraphrasing.

    You say that Bush didn’t move the culture in a pro-life direction. That’s not true. He spoke about the culture of life more often than any recent politician. He nominated two intellectual Catholic originalists to the Supreme Court, in the face of the media’s narrative that pro-lifers are hicks. The number of abortions declined during his administration, and the country polled significantly more pro-life.

    You also said that he didn’t take any political risks for the cause. Not true. He made (his first?) major address on stem cell research, and vetoed his first bill. He expended a lot of political capital on the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003.

  40. Kurt permalink
    January 26, 2010 3:28 pm

    The number of abortions declined during his administration

    There is a lag on this data. The stats for 2006 were reported in the press today:

    The abortion rate [for 2006] also inched up for the first time in more than a decade — rising 1 percent — intensifying concern across the ideological spectrum.

  41. January 26, 2010 3:36 pm

    Pinky,

    Is that all? Bush might have borrowed (stolen) the Catholic term “culture of life” but he most certainly did not understand it. No need to repeat everything that has been said already regarding is positions on ESCR, torture, war, the dealth penalty, and his awful economic policies. But as to your points:

    He appointed two Catholic Supreme Court judges, yes, but what does that mean? So far, all I have seen from this Court is a dizzying array of pro-big business decisions combined with some that support torture and the death penalty. Not exactly inspiring.

    As for the decline in abortion rates, the largest decline by far took place under the presidency of Bill Clinton. Does this qualify him for a pro-life award?

  42. January 26, 2010 3:38 pm

    Kurt,

    Do you have that reference? I’ve been looking for this information lately. Guttmacher data always comes with a huge time lag.

  43. January 26, 2010 3:45 pm

    One more response to Pinky – the fact that Bush went out of his way to portray himself as pro-life means that the chances of changing there culture any time soon have been dramatically diminished.

  44. johnmcg permalink
    January 26, 2010 4:18 pm

    Bush was so successful in helping to build a culture of life that the nation immediately elected “the most pro-abortion president in history,” who immediately undid every single pro-life gesture he took.

    Things are at a state one year afterwards that pro-lifers consider the election of a marginally less pro-abortion senator something to celebrate.

  45. Pinky permalink
    January 26, 2010 4:36 pm

    MM – Almost nothing has been said on this thread about Bush’s economic policies. What about them disqualifies the man as a pro-lifer?

  46. January 26, 2010 4:42 pm

    Pinky, as I said in response to Austen Ruse:

    Despite his rhetoric, he show ideological disdain for the policies that would have reduced abortion. As the Declaration on Procured Abortion states, “one can never approve of abortion, but it is above all necessary to combat its causes…it is necessary…to do everything possible to help families, mothers and children.” Bush’s record on this? Appalling. Median real income down 4.3 percent. Poverty up 26 percent (two thirds before the financial crisis hit). Child poverty up 21 percent. The number of ininsured up 21 percent.

    These policies are not policies that tackle the underlying decision to procure an abortion, which is intimately tied to poverty and economic marginalization. In that sense, they are not pro-life policies.

  47. Kurt permalink
    January 26, 2010 4:47 pm

    Things are at a state … that pro-lifer consider the election of a marginally less pro-abortion senator something to celebrate

    Pro-lifers are not celebrating the petty (if even existing) difference in views on abortion. They are celebrating the obstruction of extending health insurance to 30 million Americans. This is a huge win for the Right-to-Life Movement’s agenda.

  48. Pinky permalink
    January 26, 2010 5:07 pm

    MM, perhaps decent people can disagree on Bush’s economic policies without casting them in the terms you use.

  49. January 26, 2010 5:24 pm

    Decent, respectable people often have death-dealing political views.

  50. phosphorious permalink
    January 26, 2010 5:53 pm

    MM, perhaps decent people can disagree on Bush’s economic policies without casting them in the terms you use.

    Probably not. . . I don’t recall anyone who disagreed with Bush in 2004 being treated “decently.”

  51. Pinky permalink
    January 26, 2010 6:22 pm

    As a Christian, I treated them decently. That’s not a demanding standard.

    • January 26, 2010 6:34 pm

      While not saying I agree with everything presented in this article, I still think it does a good run-down on the talking points:

      http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3114.html

      Also displayed as evidence that President Bush is pro-life was his reinstitution of Reagan’s Mexico City policy in the first days of his Presidency, which forbade taxpayer dollars from being given to organizations that perform abortions overseas.10 However, the pro-life façade soon came down. In a major policy shift, President Bush has decided to allow social service agencies in Africa and the Caribbean to receive funds from the U.S. treasury under his $15 billion emergency AIDS relief plan even if they promote family planning and provide abortions.11, 12 The New York Times confirmed, “Ignoring objections from his conservative base, President Bush is to make a Rose Garden speech on Tuesday in support of a $15 billion bill to fight A.I.D.S. internationally that will direct some money to groups that promote abortion,” and that will do very little to actually prevent AIDS.13

      Conservative groups also hold forth President Bush’s support of the “Partial Birth Abortion Ban” as evidence that he is indeed pro-life. Really? Does that make Tom Daschle pro-life, since he supports the Ban too? Don’t be so gullible, friend. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban won’t save a single life!14 Not one! Millions of rare pro-life dollars and countless hours of precious pro-life energy has been wasted over the course of a decade on a bill that won’t save a single life! The same babies that would perish through the “Dilation and Extraction Procedure” will die through arguably more painful “procedures” such as the “Dilation and Evacuation Procedure,” where instead of being instantly killed with a stab to the head, the baby will be slowly ripped limb from limb. Furthermore, the very language of the ban encourages the killing of the baby before extraction. If an abortionist injects poison into the full-term baby’s heart, for instance, and then performs the “D & X Procedure,” then the Ban would not apply.15 Thoughtful pro-lifers should oppose this counterfeit pro-life bill, this colossal waste of paper that perpetuates the Abortion Holocaust.

      Thanks to G.W. Bush’s leadership, companies such as Planned Parenthood, the largest baby-killing conglomerate in the world, will get taxpayer funding. Planned Parenthood was responsible for the deaths of 227,385 Americans in 2002 alone. Planned Parenthood’s 2002-2003 Annual Report shows that 33 % of its income came from federal government grants and contracts totaling $254.4 million in the fiscal year ending in June 2003, thanks to Medicaid disbursements and President Bush’s Title X of the Public Health Service Act in 2001. Under Bush, this baby-killing organization has received more tax-funds than under Clinton! Thanks in large part due to government handouts under President Bush, Planned Parenthood raked in a hefty $36.6 million profit in its last fiscal year.16

      11. Richard Stevenson, “Bush Eases Ban on AIDS Money to Pro-Abortion Groups Abroad,” New York Times, 2-15-03, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/15/
      12. Edwin Chen, “Bush alters stance on AIDS funding restrictions: Turnabout on policy affects overseas service agencies,” Los Angeles Times, 2-16-03, http://www.knoxnews.com/
      13. William Jasper, “The Global AIDS Con Game,” The New American, 6-2-03, http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2003/06-02-2003/vo19no11_aids.htm
      14. J. Johnston, “The Partial Birth Abortion Ban is a Farce,” Ohio Constitution Party Website, http://www.ohiocp.org/pbabanfarce.php
      15. Jim Rudd, “Partial Birth Abortion Ban of No Effect,” Covenant News, 11-26-03, http://covenantnews.com/rudd031126.htm
      16. Joe Giganti, “Government Funding and Abortion Income Help Planned Parenthood Make a Killing, According to Organization’s Annual Report”, U.S. Newswire, http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=122-12172003

  52. David Nickol permalink
    January 26, 2010 7:05 pm

    That is interesting. Do you know anything about this and where it ultimately went?

    Phillip,

    The NIH Guidelines on Human Stem Cell Research went into effect July 7, 2009, and the worst fears expressed in the article you site did not come to pass. I think I can summarize the situation reasonably well.

    Dickey-Wicker is still in effect as of March of last year. No federal funds may be used to create or destroy human embryos. It has to be reauthorized every year, but my guess is that it will not be modified, because with the NIH Guidelines, there would be no point in undoing Dickey-Wicker.

    “As long as they did the creation of the clone with private funds and killed them with private funds, NIH could probably fund the embryonic stem cells from the clone or from the hybrid, because that’s the basic interpretation now of what this new presidential executive order says,” bioethicist David Prentice told Baptist Press. Prentice is senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council (FRC). “There are no sorts of restrictions on when the embryo was made, where it was made, how it was made.”

    This turned out to be quite wrong. The only source of stem cells permitted by the NIH Guidelines is from “left over” embryos created for the purpose of in vitro fertilization in fertility clinics. The “owners” must donate them. There can be no other source. Here is a pretty good summary of how strict the conditions are for approving existing stem cell lines for use by federal researchers. It was only last month that the first 13 stem cell lines were approved for federal research.

    The bottom line — and I know that this doesn’t meet with Catholic approval, but it does make sense to a lot of people — is that only existing embryos created for in vitro fertilization that would otherwise be discarded may be the source of stem cells for federally funded research, and government researchers may not be the ones to destroy the embryos and extract the stem cells.

    The question I have raised is why pro-life groups don’t campaign against in vitro fertilization or attempt to put limits on the number of embryos created by fertility clinics. To continue the undermining of George Bush, he didn’t prevent the death of one embryo. He just saw to it that the ones that were going to be destroyed didn’t get used for federally funded research. The usual answer as to why there is no campaign against in vitro fertilization is that you have to pick battles you think you can win. But to a lot of people, as long as excess embryos are being created by fertility clinics and discarded when they are no longer wanted, it does not seem outrageous to use them for research. They are going to be destroyed anyway.

  53. January 26, 2010 7:25 pm

    On abortion rates allegedly rising in 2006 — it is (as if often the case in this debate) apparently a highly spun statistic. The research report is here:

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends.pdf

    First off, the data is _only_ on women aged 15-19, it’s not the national abortion rate.

    Secondly, what they’re showing is a the abortion _rate_ (number of abortions per 1000 women) increasing by 1%. However, the abortion _ratio_ (percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion_ fell by 1.5%

    So the increase in the abortion rate is simply a function of more pregnancies — but of the women (or to be precise, teens, since this data is only on 15-19 year olds) who become pregnant, a greater percentage are choosing life than evere before.

  54. Ronald King permalink
    January 26, 2010 8:59 pm

    It would be impossible for Austin Ruse to change his belief about George Bush because his identity is tied to Bush and those in the prolife movement. They do not have the insight to understand that abortion is the symptom of a culture of death that allows suffering and death to take place in order to protect one’s self interest. For example, supporting the war in Irag is protecting self interest. Allowing the poor to suffer without healthcare is protecting self interest. Allowing poverty to take place is protecting self interest.
    For people who have a myopic vision it is impossible for them to see globally and to see that suffering unattended in any part of our world creates the potential for life or death depending on how we respond as a family of human beings created by God. However, those who say they are pro life in the movement are unwilling to give up everything they have for comfort and security so that the mother of the unborn child has the security to bring that child into this world of selfishness.
    So, I say to Austin Ruse and everyone in the pro life movement join the rest of us selfish members of the culture of death because that is what we all live everyday.
    Stop being hypocritical and be honest with yourself. We all prefer self preservation over the sacrifice necessary to create a culture of life.

  55. January 26, 2010 9:17 pm

    However one spins this, it comes out “Bush is the best we can do.” Talk about dumbing things down.

  56. January 27, 2010 7:18 am

    Yup, it’s all Bush’s fault. Period.

  57. digbydolben permalink
    January 27, 2010 9:52 am

    Ronald King has once again trumped every other commentator here. You really need to invite him to be one of your regular bloggers, Vox Nova.

  58. Phillip permalink
    January 27, 2010 10:23 am

    David,

    We’ll see where all of this goes. It is interesting that both Dickey and Wicker are both Republicans and the effort to repeal came from Democrats.

  59. January 27, 2010 12:12 pm

    Yup, it’s all Bush’s fault. Period.

    Huh?

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 905 other followers

%d bloggers like this: