WASHINGTON, DC -- Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday declined to rule
out a Bush administration effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark
Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.
When asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if the Bush administration will not
try to overturn the 1973 decision, Cheney replied, "I didn't say that."
"President Bush and I have talked -- both of us strong supporters of the
pro-life position -- and the President's made it very clear the policy of
this administration will be to try to find ways to reduce the incidence of
abortion," he said.
Cheney's comments came less than a week after President George W. Bush, on
his first working day in office, banned taxpayer funds for international
family planning groups that support abortion. Pro-abortion groups reacted
with dismay, while the move was welcomed by pro-life organizations. Bush
opposes abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of a
pregnant woman, although he supported a Republican Party platform calling
for an absolute ban on abortion.
Cheney said there are other ways to reduce the number abortions in the
United States in addition to overturning Roe v. Wade, including
encouraging abstinence and adoption as well as making partial-birth
"Even if you could not, at this stage, build majority support for the
notion of changing Roe v. Wade, there are areas out there where I think we
can get majority support for, such as banning partial birth abortions," he
said. "That legislation passed the Congress, was vetoed by President
Clinton. I would hope we could go back and redo that."
Since 1995, the House and the Senate have repeatedly voted to ban
partial-birth abortions. Clinton vetoed the measures, arguing they did not
have a pro-abortion health exception -- which would continue to allow
virtually all partial-birth abortions to remain legal.
First lady Laura Bush said earlier this month she did not think the Roe v.
Wade decision should be overturned. Cheney declined to discuss the first
lady's position. "I am especially not interested in getting in the middle
of discussions between the president and the first lady on those or other
issues," he said.