Bush vs. Women

by Rebekah Merrill

During the 2000 Presidential campaign George Bush ran on a centrist platform. Though his stance on abortion was widely known he kept his enthusiasm down so as not to alienate the centrist vote. Jump from candidate Bush to President Bush and it is an entirely different picture. The first real policy announcement George W. Bush made was to reinstate a ban first introduced by Ronald Reagan in 1984, which banned the US Government from giving money to international groups that lobbied for or provided abortions. And it was not by coincidence that this decision coincided with the anniversary of the Roe Vs. Wade ruling.

This is the sign of a deeper challenge from the Bush White House to the current abortion laws. Especially with the appointments of staunch pro-lifers such as John Ashcroft attorney-general, Tommy Thompson Secretary of Health and Human services, and Dr. W. David Hager, an appointee to the FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. But the most influential decisions on Roe V. Wade and the most volatile will come when Bush is given the chance to appoint justices to the Supreme Court, the place where many of the issues surrounding abortion end up, and which is the one body which can overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Ari Fleischer, former press secretary, made it clear that Bush planned no EARLY (underline my emphasis) assault on Roe vs. Wade. "I think the president's efforts are going to focus immediately on those things that we can get done. There is a series of steps we can take to make abortion rare. That includes promotion of adoption, and so his focus will be there," he said.

As of April 7, 2004 the Bush administration has made tremendous strides in criminalizing abortion with the Partial Birth Abortion ban and the recent legislation designating the injury of a fetus as a crime. This bill determines that there are two separate victims when a pregnant woman is attacked. The definition of 'child in utero' covered under this bill as a 'member of the species...at any stage of development' is antitheses to what Roe V. Wade established 20 years ago. This definition could ultimately be used as an argument to overturn existing laws protecting abortion rights.

Cutting federal funding to Family Planning:

In his executive memorandum Mr. Bush wrote:

"It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion, either here or abroad...This means that the US Government will no longer be using taxpayer dollars to try to legalize abortion in countries in Latin America, Africa and Muslim countries in which the people are strongly opposed to abortion,"

According to the USAID, in countries, which have received international family planning funds, used for education and contraception, not strictly abortions, the average family size has decreased from six to four children. For every dollar spent on family planning, governments gain as much as $16 for health care, education, and social services.
Cutting and/or restricting international family planning funds are shortsighted and misguided actions with devastating consequences on the health and well being of the women and children in developing countries. According to UNICEF, if the existing demand for family planning services was met, the number of pregnancies in the developing world would be reduced by one-fifth and maternal deaths and injuries would be reduced by the same amount or more. Family planning can prevent 25 percent of all maternal deaths by allowing women to delay motherhood, avoid unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, and protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases. Infant deaths would be reduced by 25 percent in developing countries if all children were born two years apart. Children born less than two years apart are twice as likely to die as those born at least two years apart.

The following are Statistics from the The Alan Guttmacher Institute. A nonprofit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education. AGI publishes Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, International Family Planning Perspectives, The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy and special reports on topics pertaining to sexual and reproductive health and rights (Former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders is a member of the board.)

11.7 million more couples in developing countries receiving USAID population assistance will have access to and use a modern method of contraception.

As a result, 4.3 million women will be able to avoid an unintended pregnancy each year, leading to:

1.5 million fewer unintended births;
2.2 million fewer abortions; and
0.5 million fewer miscarriages each year.

By preventing these unintended pregnancies, 15,000 fewer women will die each year:
7,000 fewer from pregnancy-related causes other than induced abortion; and
8,000 fewer from unsafe abortions.

In addition, there will be 92,000 fewer infant deaths.

Ban on Partial Birth Abortions: (A thinly veiled effort to erode the underpinnings of Roe V. Wade and make any and all abortions illegal)

George W. Bush (Upon signing the Ban on Partial Birth Abortion): "For years, a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth, while the law looked the other way. Today, at last, the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child".

While trying to get the Food and Drug Administration to say no to emergency contraception, commonly referred to as the "Morning After Pill, Dr. W. David Hager, George W. Bush's appointee to the FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee has also renewed his attack on RU-486, or mifepristone.

Dr. Hager led the campaign petitioning the FDA to ban mifepristone along with his allies at The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Concerned Women for America.

Women's groups protested Hager's pending appointment to the Advisory Committee last year, and the White House responded by making it official on December 24 a day when it would get very little attention. Mifepristone was approved by the FDA during the Clinton Administration after a twelve-year review. Right-wing opponents have seized on the tragic news of a young woman's death to demand it be pulled although there have been many more deaths associated with the use of Viagra, which is not questioned!

More Sneaky Legislation:
The federal Department of Health and Human Services today announced final approval of a rule to allow states to cover eligible unborn children under the State Children's Insurance Health Program (S-CHIP).
The new rule allows states to recognize an unborn child as a "child" eligible for services under the program, which provides medical assistance for low-income children under age 19.

National Right to Life Applauds U.S. House for Passing Bill to Bar Discrimination Against Pro-Life Health Care Providers

U.S. House Backs President Bush in Denying Funds to Overseas Groups That Promote Abortion Legalization

National Right to Life Applauds Restoration of Pro-Life "Mexico City Policy" by President Bush

Statistics (From the CDC):
In 1973 615,831 woman obtained legal abortions. By 1997 that number was 1,186, 039. BUT in 2000 that number fell to 857,475. Though there was a steady incline in the first decade after abortion was legalized in the past few years that number has begun to decline.

The following are statistics for the year 2000:
52% of Abortions were obtained by woman less than 25 years of age, 57% of whom were white and 81% unmarried.

58% of abortions were performed at or before 8 weeks and 88% before 13 weeks of pregnancy. The percentage of late term abortions performed was small, 4.3% were performed at 16-20 weeks and 1.4% at 21 weeks. 97% of abortions were performed by cutterage, 0.4% by intrauterine installation.

Reporting for 1998-1999 only 14 women died of complications resulting from abortion, in a year when the CDC reported 861,789 abortions.

Interesting Sidenote:
Dont miss this article from the National Review. It is Bushs statement naming January 22, "National Sanctity of Human Life Day.yyyı


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