POST: In the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush maintained a studiously
moderate stance on social issues.
REALITY: It may be true that Bush seemed -- or
even was -- moderate on some social issues during the 2000
campaign, but abortion
was not one of them. He was most definitely pro-life. Considering
that abortion is the social issue in question in this editorial,
the Post starts its editorial rather disingenuously by insinuating
that Bush campaigned as a moderate on abortion, since it classifies
as a "social issue."
POST: Once he assumed office in January 2001, he betrayed that
position and delighted his right-wing base by attaching antiabortion
conditions to foreign assistance. These conditions laid down
that family planning groups accepting federal money must not
perform abortions, or even provide information about them to
REALITY: The "antiabortion conditions to foreign assistance" to
which the Post refers is the "Mexico City" Policy that
was in place from 1984 to 1993, when Clinton repealed it, and
was reinstituted by President Bush in 2001. It was neither new
As I've noted before, liberals "maintain
that private, foreign organizations that perform elective abortions
lobby for the repeal of restrictions on abortions should be eligible
for pregnancy prevention assistance from United States Agency
for International Development (USAID) in the countries in which
they perform those abortions or lobby for those repeals. Between
1984 and 1993, such organizations were not eligible for United
States foreign assistance. That bar on assistance was imposed
by presidential directive and was called the 'Mexico City' policy.
It was imposed after the United Nations International Conference
on Population (which was held in Mexico City) declared that abortion
'in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning
. . .'
"President Clinton rescinded that ban in
1993. During the 9 years that the ban was in effect funding
for USAID population planning assistance, and 350 private, foreign
organizations received aid. A few organizations, such as International
Planned Parenthood Federation, were denied funds because they
refused to comply with the Mexico City policy."
After Clinton repealed the policy, USAID "funding
increased further in 1993 and 1994, but with International
Federation taking a large share of that increase. In 1995 Congress
passed a foreign aid bill reinstituting the Mexico City policy.
President Clinton vetoed that bill."
POST: As we said at the time, forcing an organization to censor
its views as a condition of receiving government money would
be unconstitutional on free-speech grounds in this country. Mr.
Bush's calculation, we supposed, was that Americans would overlook
his contempt for free speech if the consequences were limited
to far-off poor countries.
REALITY: The obvious thrust of this editorial
is not to debate abortion and abortion funding, but to actively
work to change
the subject with regard to abortion funding -- a common liberal
tactic when it comes to killing the unborn. No longer does the
Left claim the debate over the "Mexico City" Policy
and government funding for pro-abortion groups to be about the
right to have an abortion: now it's about the freedom of speech.
Liberals like those on the Post's editorial board are avoiding
the abortion argument altogether, knowing that most Americans
would likely tell them tax dollars shouldn't pay for the promotion
or execution of abortions. Instead, they are now claiming that
the policy violates the First Amendment.
POST: Now another election campaign has started, and Mr. Bush
has dropped the pretense of moderation. He has followed up his
defunding of groups that perform abortions by defunding other
groups that associate with them. This month in Washington, an
annual conference on health in developing countries, which in
previous years had been partially funded by the United States
and had been attended by senior Bush administration officials,
went ahead without U.S. government support. Again, its offense
was to invite the dreaded U.N. Population Fund, along with the
International Planned Parenthood Federation.
REALITY: The Post is apparently upset that the
government would dare to "restrict" the speech and
behavior of these pro-abortion groups. They neglect to mention
that the federal
government constantly tells organizations that receive taxpayer
monies what they can and cannot do or say.
POST: Abortion will always be an agonizing issue, and the right
balance between abstinence and contraception is a fair subject
for debate. But the attempt to deny conference platforms to groups
that oppose the administration's view is inimical both to free
speech and to scientific inquiry.
REALITY: Does the Post actually expect us to believe that the
government is somehow censoring these groups? Simply not giving
taxpayer dollars to pro-abortion groups does not equate to censorship.
POST: To attack a conference of public health specialists, canceling
grants that would have been used to allow delegates from developing
countries to attend, is to drag the battles over abortion and
conservative values into forums where they have no place.
REALITY: What would be the right place? If the Post wants to
argue that the correct place for such a debate is in political
campaigns, fine. Bush won that debate in 2000 and has acted upon
his beliefs which helped him to win office. CRO