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Contrasting Positions of Obama, Bush on Abortion

( [email protected] ) Jan 22, 2009 12:34 PM EST
President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Administration.
President Barack Obama, left, talks with former President George W. Bush while waiting to escort Bush to a military helicopter after Obama was sworn in as the 44th President in Washington Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Photo: AP Images / Saul Loeb, Pool

President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, differ sharply on abortion and other reproductive-health issues. Here are some of their views:

Obama's position, from the official White House Web site:

"President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Administration. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case.

"President Obama was an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information, and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. The Act will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims."

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Bush's view, from a proclamation last week declaring National Sanctity of Human Life Day:

"All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us.

"The most basic duty of government is to protect the life of the innocent. My Administration has been committed to building a culture of life by vigorously promoting adoption and parental notification laws, opposing Federal funding for abortions overseas, encouraging teen abstinence, and funding crisis pregnancy programs. In 2002, I was honored to sign into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which extends legal protection to children who survive an abortion attempt. I signed legislation in 2003 to ban the cruel practice of partial-birth abortion, and that law represents our commitment to building a culture of life in America...

"The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law..."

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