Fri, Feb 07, 2003 - Page 8 News List


Bush's position is illogical

Nine well-meaning US Supreme Court justices can disagree, especially about the most explosive and controversial issue to confront America in the past century. On the 30th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade ruling, which guarantees every woman the right to a safe, affordable abortion, there seems to be a politically-motivated desire brewing to reverse this decision.

Having already survived three Republican and Democratic administrations and numerous attempts to overturn this law, US President George W. Bush, US Attorney General John Ashcroft, the Christian Right and the other extreme right-wingers have whole-heartedly devoted themselves to push anti-choice legislation through the Republican-controlled legislative and executive branches, the first since the 1973 decision.

However, several challenges await the already struggling Bush administration. Any attempted reversal of the law before his re-election campaign next year is not unlikely, it is impossible, unless Bush seeks to become a political kamikaze.

First, Bush's devotion to this issue is based on the bizarre notion that abortion is another name for cold-blooded murder. True, he never held back from disclosing his opinion but it was also rarely raised during his campaign and butting heads on other issues with former US vice president Al Gore. Bush is firm that the only case in which abortion can possibly be warranted is when there is severe and imminent danger to the mother's health, the same position his father took as president.

So, does this mean that victims of rape and incest cannot receive an abortion? Can this possibly make sense? Clearly, Bush cannot condemn "murder" through abortion by a rape victim while simultaneously condoning capital punishment for rapists, a position Bush has adamantly supported in the past.

Second, Bush's insistence that abortion will be unnecessary, as long as his "abstinence only" and programs for contraceptive education are successful, is a falsehood. No method of birth control is 100 percent effective and for many, contraceptive devices are simply unavailable.

Bush's administration has not only backed numerous measures to limit worldwide and domestic access to abortion and contraceptive means, the same bills vetoed by former US president Bill Clinton, but he has also contributed large funds in an ailing US economy to closing reproductive centers and abortion clinics in many urban centers.

With the inability to receive contraceptives pills and devices and Planned Parenthood counseling from these locations, how can his planned abstinence program be effective? How does Bush attempt to fulfill a successful anti-abortion campaign other than hiding it behind his war on terrorism?

Finally, statistics taken in the 1970s regarding the general public's opinion of abortion has remained relatively unchanged. Approximately 75 percent of females in the US and more than 55 percent of men still support access to safe, legal abortions.

Even liberals in Bush's administration, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who have recently opposed Bush's plans regarding affirmative action, have not thrown their support behind pro-life programs.

It is becoming more evident that if Bush's fate in 2004 had not already been sealed by his plan to attack Iraq -- a plan which the majority of the world opposes -- a plan to overturn Roe versus Wade would erode his support among women.

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