In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), President Bush made clear his intent to veto any legislation that would improve access to abortion or support stem cell research. “I am concerned that this year Congress may consider legislation that could substantially change federal policies and laws on abortion, and allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life,” Bush wrote, according to the Washington Times. “I will veto any legislation that weakens current federal policies and laws on abortion, or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage.”
Bush’s letter, which comes as the House begins the appropriations process for the 2008 fiscal year, is seen as an attempt by some to discourage Democrats from adding abortion-rights and family planning provisions to spending bills, Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy reports. The move was likely encouraged by Congressional Republicans. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and 33 other senators sent a letter to Bush in February, asking him to uphold anti-choice legislation, the Washington Times reports. In the House, 130 Republicans sent a similar letter to Bush at the end of March.
Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said of the letter, “President Bush’s warning to use his veto clearly illustrates why abortion and family planning are issues in the 2008 presidential election. We cannot allow any more candidates to say that abortion and family planning are not presidential issues. They are. This current president is in the pocket of the Roman Catholic bishops and right-wing ministers who should clean their own houses and stop interfering with a woman’s right to family planning and abortion.”