Monday, November 22, 2010

Bush and the Culture of Life

Bush and the Culture of Life

In His Own Words

Editor: a veteran California pro-lifer sent the following email to Cal Catholic mid-November. 

Former U.S. president, George W. Bush, has just published his memoir book, Decision Points. It is a stunning revelation of how Mr. Bush thought about the life issues---abortion and stem cell research in particular. 

Within the first few pages of his opening chapter which focuses on his early years, primarily in Texas, Mr. Bush tells of a memorable event with his mother: 

“ One day, shortly after I learned to drive and while Dad was away on a business trip, Mother called me into her bedroom. There was urgency in her voice. She told me to drive her to the hospital immediately…. The she said she had a miscarriage. I was taken aback. This was a subject I never expected to be discussing with Mother. I also never expected to see the remains of the fetus, which she had saved in a jar to bring to the hospital. I remember thinking: There was a human life, a little brother or sister.” 

No other U.S. president has ever made such a personal, straight-forward disclosure regarding a child born prematurely, a child similar to others who are routinely slaughtered by abortionists. 

Mr. Bush writes freely about his love for his wife, Laura, and how they tried so hard to become parents. They were about to take up the adoption process when Laura announced that she might be pregnant. The made a trip to a sonogram expert: 

“I was nervous as she (the technician) guided the device over Laura’s body.’ It’s a girl!’ She moved to a better angle. Suddenly she shouted, ’I see two babies, two beautiful babies!’ My eyes filled with tears. It was a double blessing. I started calling the sonogram image our first family photo.” 

Although Bush has major chapters in his book that reveal his decisions on major policies including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, funding to stop AIDS in Africa and tax relief, he gives the topic of embryonic stem cell research his first priority. Bush was faced with the decision as to whether or not allow the Clinton policy of funding stem cell research from aborted preborn babies: 

Bush writes: “The moral questions were profound - Is a frozen embryo a human life? If so, what responsibilities do we have to protect it.” 

After discussing the pros and cons with bioethics experts, he continues to worry: “I felt that technology should respect moral boundaries. I worried that sanctioning the destruction of human embryos for research would be a step down the slippery slope….The stem cell question overlapped with the abortion debate…. My faith and conscience led me to conclude that human life is sacred….. The fact that they could not speak for themselves only enhanced society’s duty to defend them… I did feel a responsibility to voice my pro-life convictions and lead the country toward what Pope John Paul II called a culture of life.” 

Bush acknowledges that it was the counsel of Dr. Leon Kass of the University of Chicago which crystallized his thinking and decision that “Federal dollars would not be used to support the destruction of life for medical gain…. With the decision made I felt a sense of calm.” 

When the news was announced five months later that embryonic stem cell research could be replaced with adult stem cell research, Bush said that he was thrilled with the news. Even his critic, columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote: “The verdict is clear. Rarely has a president - so vilified for a moral stance - been so thoroughly vindicated.”