Amid the pomp and parading of the George W. Bush inauguration, Republicans wondered how it was possible for anyone to protest the new president. However, by the end of Bush’s first full day of office, we learned that we could not begin the protests early enough. As one of its first decisions, the Bush administration chose to ban federal funding for any international family planning clinics that provide abortions or abortion counseling. This action is not only an outrage to those who believe in the right to choice but a clear indication that our new neighbor is not serious about unity.
As if the nomination of John Ashcroft – a man who made his career opposing the right to choice – was not enough, Bush made a clear statement on Monday. On the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Bush made clear his stance on this divisive issue. To add insult to injury, Bush then released a statement to anti-choice activists that his presidency would work hard to oppose abortion. These actions are proof positive that George W. is a real threat to the right to choice.
The ban on funding is an outrage that extends beyond our borders. Many of these clinics provide important services and help deal with the ever-increasing problem of global population growth. Indeed, Bush slashed funding not just to clinics that provide abortions but also to clinics that provide counseling for women of all ages. This means that countless women in countries around the world will lack the information and resources to make an informed choice.
Additionally, even those who oppose the practice of abortion recognize that funding these clinics reduces the risks of dangerous unregulated abortions. The Bush decision simply forces women, many of whom are already in less than ideal health conditions in the developing world, to make choices without the guarantees of safe procedures and well-trained professionals. This is an outrage not just to the choice movement but to health advocates around the world.
Moreover, regardless of one’s stance on abortion, the move indicates Bush’s clear hypocrisy. In a curious move, Bush claimed to be a uniter then made one of his first policy moves on perhaps America’s most divisive issue. We learned from the senior George that we cannot just sit back and read his lips. We now know that deceptive rhetoric runs in the family. Obviously Americans have become accustomed to deception from our leaders. The difference here is that Bush’s deception was not about personal matters; it was about a very vital issue with a very real impact on lives of people around the world.
One cannot unite a nation by creating a divide between rhetoric and reality. We know now that compassionate conservatism to Curious George means that his administration will be compassionate to conservatives and their causes above all else. As a fellow Texan, I would like to offer our new neighbor the advice I received from a good friend: mean what you say and say what you mean.
-The writer is president of the GW College Democrats and political affairs director of the College Democrats of America.