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Note: I just got back from Washington DC aka "city of fear" last night. Details later.
As promised last week, here is my expansion of reasons why I believe that President Bush should not be considered a â€œpro-lifeâ€? candidate. Above and beyond the specific comments below; I believe that if the President devoted the same amount of energy and political capital to reducing abortion that he did to tax cuts or to his drive to war in Iraq, we would have seen results by now.
I can only assume that he feels that protecting the unborn is a lower priority than obtaining tax cuts or waging war against nations with no proven links to the terrorists who attacked us.
Abortion â€“ The President says he's against legalized abortion, but has proposed no anti-abortion legislation of his own. He has not pressed his party's leadership for a constitutional ban on abortion, the only sure legal cure. The recent overturning of the partial birth ban shows that only a constitutional amendment will meaningfully change the law. There are other ways of reducing abortion through providing young women with support for other choices, but the President has not even proposed funding some of these other options. The silence of his inaction deafens his rhetoric.
Fetal stem cell research â€“ The President claims to be against this too, rightly noting that the research requires the destruction of human life. Yet not only has the President allowed federal spending on research on existing fetal cell lines, he has neither proposed nor endorsed a ban on private research. Private research will go forward and the President should know this. Yet he does nothing to back up his stated conviction that fetal stem cells require the destruction of innocent human life. He only offers verbal â€œopposition.â€?
Death Penalty â€“ Here is one pro-life area where the president goes beyond words and takes vigorous action -- against Catholic teaching and against all who champion a consistent ethic of life from cradle to grave. The President has proposed multiple expansions of the death penalty and has sought to weaken the appeals process, even though more than a hundred innocents have been released from Death Row as a result of DNA evidence. In Genesis 4, God spared the without doubt-a-guilty Cain. This Administration never misses a chance to seek the death penalty.
Some will tell you that mere verbal opposition to abortion is preferable to verbal support for abortion as one of multiple options. As long as the candidate says he's against abortion, other life values can go out the window. Whether or not he actually does anything. Before 2003, I had more sympathy with this view. But in the past year, President Bush has shed the blood of thousands of Iraqis, coalition partners and Americans in his â€œpreventive war.â€? The administration dismissed as lies or delusions several prewar international reports (Blix, Ritter, IAEA) that indicated that Saddam without doubt had no nuclear weapons, and likely had no unconventional weapons stockpiles. The administration also ignored people within our own government who questioned either the presence of weapons of mass destruction or a strong Iraq-al Qaeda link. They preferred to take the self-serving lies of Chalabi and other exiles at face value because they wanted war right away. Now thousands of Americans, Iraqis, and coalition partners are either dead or crippled for life. This is an â€œachievementâ€? that the President boasted of in Friday's debate. Invading Iraq was still the right thing to do, because â€œSaddam might have had weapons that he might have given to terrorists.â€? Our President is clearly willing to have thousands die on the basis of a â€œwhat might be.â€?
Judge for yourselves. Does the President's verbal opposition to and tolerance of abortion and fetal stem cell research outweigh his enthusiasm for the death penalty and his willing to deal death to thousands in a first strike based on a â€œmightâ€??