On Presidents Day, when we honor the valiant men who have served our country as presidents, we at Georgetown Right to Life would like to recognize all those who stood, and continued to stand, for pro-life ideals. Therefore, we thank the following presidents for upholding pro-life beliefs and pushing moving this moral battle forward.
Jimmy Carter, who assumed presidency only a few years after Roe v. Wade, personally opposed abortion. Throughout his presidency, he attempted to reduce the rate of abortions by making adoption more accessible and initiating a program called Women, Infants, and Children Program (Galanes). This program promotes the health of low-income parents, breastfeeding women, infants, and malnourished children up to age five. It does so by providing nutritious foods, information on healthy breastfeeding and eating habits, and referrals to health care. This program is still in place today (“Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)”).
Ronald Reagan, appalled by the results of Roe v. Wade, spoke out against abortion time and time again. Perhaps one of his most notorious actions is establishing the personhood and dignity of the unborn. Reagan declared the emancipation proclamation of the preborn, where he declared the “undeniable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death” (Brownback). He also established the Mexico City Policy, also known as the “Global Gag Rule”, which prohibited any funding of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who “perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations” (“Memorandum”).
George H.W. Bush
As George H.W. Bush put it, “protection of innocent human life – in or out of the womb — is certainly the most compelling interest that a State can advance” (“HW Bush”). Abiding to this words, H.W. Bush opposed the “Freedom of Choice Act”, a bill that legalized abortion on demand in all fifty states. In total, he vetoed ten bills which supported abortion, four of which allowed taxpayer money to support abortion. Additionally, he vetoed U.S. funding for UNFPA, an organization that reinforced the “forced abortion” program in China.
George W. Bush
Much can be observed from the first day of George W. Bush’s presidency, where he reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which Bill Clinton had removed during his presidency. Bush attempted to find common ground by developing practical ways to decrease abortion rates, such as promoting adoption, allowing for parental notification when a minor decides to abort, and funding maternity group homes. These maternity group homes provide shelter for homeless pregnant or parenting young between ages 16 and 22, as well as their children, teaching young people parenting skills (National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families). He banned partial-birth abortions, which he called a “brutal practice” (“George W. Bush on Abortion”), and did not allow any taxpayer money to fund abortions.
Donald Trump continued the tradition of Republican presidents since Reagan by reinstating the Mexico City policy. He took it one step further, though, and allowed this policy to cover all federal national health funding, not just family-planning funding. Trump also signed the Congressional Review Act, which allows states to remove Title X funding for abortion in Planned Parenthood clinics. His administration has also began to investigate Planned Parenthood for the illegal trafficking of fetal-tissue. As he promised earlier in his campaign, he has nominated a pro-life supreme justice, Neil Gorsuch. Lastly, Trump has displayed an eagerness to sign the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act if it passes through Congress. This act would ban abortions after 20-weeks gestation (DeSanctis).
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