George W. Bush on Abortion

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

Find common ground where good people disagree

Q: What is your attitude towards abortion:

BUSH: 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.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Aprroval 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; 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

No litmus test except strict Constitutional interpretation

“If elected, I will support Supreme Court judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution.” A strict stance on abortion, he indicated, would not rest at the top of his list of requirements for an appointee, though Bush has voiced strong personal opposition to most forms of the procedure. “I will not have a litmus test for my judges, except for: Will the judge strictly interpret the Constitution, and not use the bench to write social policy?”
Source: Ian Christopher McCaleb, Aug 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
Al Gore
Bill Clinton
Jesse Ventura
Ross Perot
Ralph Nader
Pat Buchanan
John McCain
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