Bush Comes Out Swinging at Abortion

January 23, 2001


On his second day in office, George W. Bush took his first major political action: He signed a memorandumreinstating the full abortion restrictions on U.S. overseas aid that his father and former President Reagan hadinstituted before him.

The ruling came on the 28th anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that guaranteed awoman’s right to an abortion.

Earlier in his first workday in the White House, Bush issued a statement to pro-life marchers: "The promises of ourDeclaration of Independence" he wrote, "are not just for the strong, the independent or the healthy. They are foreveryone, including unborn children."

Former Presidents Reagan and Bush had banned U.S. aid to international groups that use their own money to supportabortion–either through performing the procedure, counseling abortion as a family-planning option, or lobbyingforeign governments on abortion policy.

President Clinton repealed the policy, which abortion-rights advocates call "the global gag rule," two days after heentered office in 1993.


  • Susan Cohen, Deputy Director for Government Affairs, Alan Guttmacher Institute.
  • Ann Baker, President of the National for Center for the Pro-Choice Majority.
  • Julia Ernst, International Legislative Counsel, Center for Reproductive Law and Policy.

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