February 4, 2001
volume 12, no. 35

Bush Tips His Hand Regarding Abortion

    WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 2, 2001 ( During a meeting with Catholic leaders, President George W. Bush linked his faith-based social-services initiative to his goal of reducing abortions.

    The statements, overheard by reporters, show Bush to be a sharper analyst of his political situation than his public appearances have suggested, according to Pro-Life Infonet, which cited news accounts from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times.

    For instance, Bush has promoted his plan to let religious organizations bid on federal social-service contracts as a way to help the poor. In his remarks Wednesday, he also linked the initiative to the struggle to protect the right to life.

    "See, this faith-based initiative really ties into a larger cultural issue that we are working on," Bush said. "Take the life issue," he said. "This issue requires a president and an administration leading our nation to understand the importance of life. When you're talking about welcoming people of faith to help people who are disadvantaged, ... the next logical step is also those babies."

    Bush said that the "pro-life movement" has been "losing a war of words to the opposing side." On the issue of abortion, "there is a kind of a built-in prejudice against a particular position on both sides of both issues," the president said. "And the language of the issues is never for life, it's always anti-somebody's right."

    Bush told the Catholic leaders that they are important allies for him because "you're not going to be eroded by political correctness."

    The private meeting, which came before a press pool was brought in to hear brief remarks from the president, included 35 Catholic leaders. Among those on hand were Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado; Cardinal-designate Edward Egan of New York; and key advisers in Bush's push for federal aid for faith-based social programs ZE01020220

February 4, 2001
volume 12, no. 35
USA News
Return to Today's Issue