Planned Parenthood Will Protest Bush Adviser Over Abortion Comments

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood Will Protest Bush Adviser Over Abortion Comments

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 29, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Karen Hughes, an adviser to President Bush, has defended comments she made over the weekend responding to the abortion march by saying Americans value life more now as a result of the September 2001 terrorists attacks.

However, after her response to criticism failed to satsify Planned Parenthood, the abortion business now plans to protest Hughes as she makes stops on a book signing tour.

Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt said Thursday that local Planned Parenthood supporters will appear at upcoming Hughes appearances, seeking an apology for the remarks her group opposes.

Hughes is currently on tour promoting her book Ten Minutes From Normal. Planned Parenthood supporters will appear at Hughes’ upcoming book promotions in Tampa, Fla., on May 3rd, and in Atlanta, Ga., on May 4th.

On CNN on Sunday, Hughes said the following in response to the pro-abortion march, whose attendance was significantly less than the one million people organizers predicted would attend:
"I think after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and I think those are the kind of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we’re facing an enemy, and really, the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

"It’s the founding conviction of our country, that we’re endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, the right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Hughes added. "Unfortunately our enemies in the terror network, as we’re seeing repeatedly in the headlines these days, don’t value any life, not even the innocent and not even their own."

But Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt criticized Hughes for invoking the terrorist attacks in the context of the abortion debate.

"(This) was an insensitive and divisive overreach," Feldt wrote in a letter to Hughes today. "It is outrageous to suggest that those of us who challenge this administration’s attacks on reproductive rights and access do not value life and human dignity. Indeed, it is because we value life and human dignity that we support a woman’s right to choice."

Hughes, in comments provided to the Washington Post, called Feldt’s characterization of her remarks a "gross distortion."

"That is a gross distortion and I would never make such a comparison," Hughes told the Post. "Surely even the most strident of partisans, and reasonable people on both sides of the abortion issue, can agree that we have been reminded of the precious nature of human life and that we ought to work to reduce the number of abortions in America."

Feldt said Hughes’ reaction was unacceptable. "She failed to address the real issue: invoking 9/11 in a debate over reproductive choice, which is outrageous, insensitive and divisive."

In an op-ed column Thursday, Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at National Review, defended Hughes’ comments. He said Hughes deserves praise for assuming that, unlike terrorists, abortion advocates can be persuaded to value human life.

"Indeed, her implicit argument assumes that supporters of abortion can be moved to value human life in a way that supporters of terrorism, presumably, cannot," Ponnuru wrote.

Ponnuru said he didn’t think Hughes owed Planned Parenthood, or abortion advocates.

"Hard words get said in politics," he wrote. "At last weekend’s march, politicians suggested, explicitly or implicitly, that pro-lifers are enemies of the Constitution, haters of women, slave drivers, people without consciences, and opponents of civil rights."

In her appearance on CNN’s "Late Edition," Hughes also praised the president on his "very strong record for women," saying he has employed more women in senior-level staff positions than any other presidential administration.

Eight pro-abortion Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to Bush about the matter.

Hughes is advising President Bush during the 2004. Previously she served as a spokeswoman for the president.