George W. Bush is an interesting man with a complicated presidency that most Americans-going into Bush's final year of office-deemed a failure. At one point, Bush had the worst approval/disapproval rating since Gallup began measuring. His record on domestic policy and foreign policy, on the economy and Iraq, on Katrina and the War on Terror, engenders much heated debate.
That said, George W. Bush was our best pro-life president, hands down. To cite just a few examples:
Bush's confirmed picks to the Supreme Court, from a pro-life standpoint, were superb. His actual policy changes, from bans on partial birth-abortion to stopping taxpayer funding of the deliberate destruction of human embryos, were wonderful. His first day in office, Bush authorized a ban on U.S. taxpayer funding of international "abortion rights" groups like International Planned Parenthood, which seek abortion implementation worldwide. In contrast, President Barack Obama immediately restored that funding his first week in office, specifically, January 23, 2009, the day after the annual March for Life. In August 2002, Bush signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which requires medical attention to a child that accidentally survives an abortion. Barack Obama, as a state senator in Illinois, repeatedly blocked or voted against such legislation.
This is a short list of Bush's pro-life actions.
Yet, unappreciated is the full story behind George W. Bush's pro-life convictions. At its crux is a basic belief that every human life, from the moment of conception, is unique, precious, blessed by God, and deserving of protection by a compassionate society.
But is there more to it, maybe something personal? With the release of Bush's new book, Decision Points, we learn that, yes, there was something deeply personal. As someone who wrote a biography of Bush, I had known only half the story.
It was the mid-1960s. With his father out of town on business, a teenage George W. Bush, the oldest child in the family, and the first with a driver's license, quickly drove his mother to the hospital. She had just had a miscarriage. When Barbara Bush worried she would not be able to walk out of the car, George told her he would carry her into the emergency room. She spent the night in the hospital.
George W. Bush has told that much before. In his new book, however, he continues the conversation, albeit very briefly. He adds that one thing he didn't expect to see during this ordeal was the remains of the fetus. Bush writes: "I remember thinking: There was a human life, a little brother or sister."
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism" and "Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century."