Democratic Presidential Candidates Bash Bush on Abortion Ban

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 8, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democratic Presidential Candidates Bash Bush on Abortion Ban

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 8, 2003

Washington, DC ( — On the issue of partial-birth abortions there is a clear difference between the pro-life views of President Bush, who signed the ban on Wednesday, and the Democratic candidates for president — all of whom would have vetoed the legislation.

Bush signed the legislation on Wednesday saying, "In the debate about the rights of the unborn, we are asked to broaden the circle of our moral concern. And today, we welcome vulnerable children into the care and protection of Americans."

The Democratic presidential candidates don’t see it that way.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts called the law "a step backwards for women" and added that "this president has exploited this issue." He called it called the law part of "the right-wing assault on the rights of women."

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who did a stint at Planned Parenthood while in medical school, said it would "chill the practice of medicine and endanger the health of countless women.” He said he was "outraged that President Bush has decided that he is qualified to practice medicine."

Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut called it a triumph for "the political agenda of right-wing Republicans" and that it "broadly threatens the right to choose."

And retired general Wesley Clark, who is pro-abortion but has not expanded on his position, called the pro-life bill a return "to the dark days before Roe v. Wade.”

Those views don’t represent either grassroots Democrats, at least one-third of whom are pro-life, nor the 17 Democratic Senators and 62 Democratic House Members who supported banning the partial-birth abortion procedure.

“We are disappointed that the Democratic Presidential Candidates continue to cater the small minority or Americans who favor abortion on demand, Kristen Day, the director of Democrats for Life of America, told

Day said none of the Democratic candidates view on abortion were encouraging to her organization.

"It is frustrating but it shows how much work needs to be done for pro-life Democrats to be recognized and welcomed in the party."

Pro-life groups say that were any of the Democratic presidential candidates in office, the ban would not have been signed into law.

"President Bush’s signing of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban was a tremendous victory for unborn children," Carol Tobias, political director for National Right to Life, told  "If any of the nine Democratic presidential candidates had been in the White House, the bill would have been vetoed and babies would continue to die by this horrible procedure."

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, also praised Bush saying: "We thank God for President Bush, who by signing this legislation, as well as the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002, has put into place significant precedents in law that will begin to restore protection to preborn children."