by Steven Ertelt
November 5, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush honored two leading pro-life advocates during a White House ceremony on Monday with the highest honor the government can give to a civilian. Family members of Henry Hyde and Oscar Biscet accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom on their behalf.
Former member of Congress Henry Hyde became the pro-life movement’s elder statesman on Capitol Hill after his landmark Hyde Amendment stopped federal funding of virtually all abortions.
Bob Hyde appeared at the ceremony on behalf of his father who wasn’t able to attend because of health issues.
"Congressman Hyde spent more than three decades as a towering figure on Capitol Hill," Bush said in presenting the award.
"Colleagues were struck by his extraordinary intellect, his deep convictions, and eloquent voice," the president said. "In committee and in the House chamber, the background noise would stop when Henry Hyde had the floor."
However, Bush explained that Hyde "used his persuasive powers for noble causes."
"He was a gallant champion of the weak and forgotten, and a fearless defender of life in all its seasons," the president said.
“It’s gratification,’’ Bob Hyde said of how his father views the award. "I think it affirms the importance and the value of his stance on many things, like right to life… It means a lot to him."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney issued a press release about the award and said it was apporpriate for Hyde to receive one.
"On the domestic front, Henry Hyde was quite simply the pre-eminent pro-life champion of our time," Romney said.
Meanwhile, Yan Valdes and Winnie Biscet were on hand to accept the award for their father, Oscar Biscet, who is currently jailed in Cuba for protesting abortions there.
"For speaking the truth Dr. Biscet has endured repeated harassment, beatings, and detentions. The international community agrees that Dr. Biscet’s imprisonment is unjust, yet the regime has refused every call for his release," President Bush said.
"God willing, he’ll soon regain his freedom, as justice demands," the president added. "He deserves to be reunited with his wife, Elsa, and all their family. And the land they call home deserves to be free."
Yan choked back tears as the president commended the imprisoned dissident.
Biscet was arrested and served three years in a prison camp after publishing an article condemning abortion. After he was released, Biscet was again arrested and is serving 22 years in prison for anti-government views.