By Patrick B. Craine
SASKATOON, SA, October 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Yesterday morning, before delivering an address at TCU Place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for a crowd of about 2,000, former U.S. President George W. Bush joined the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association (SPLA) at a business breakfast where the pro-life group presented him with an award for his "very public determination to protect the unborn while he served two terms as President."
The Humanity of the Unborn Child Pro-Life Award, as it is called, was given to the former President "in recognition of [his] resolve and initiatives in the protection of human life." The award, said the pro-life organization, "is presented to an international politician, but also with the intention of making pro-life progress here domestically, for example to get our provincial government to stop using tax dollars to fund abortions."
The members of the delegation presenting the award were: Muriel Nielsen, SPLA President; Fr. Jeffrey D. Stephaniuk, Ukrainian Catholic priest and main editor of the SPLA blog; Dr. Grant Devine, former premier of the Province of Saskatchewan; and Ben Hudye, president of Hudye Soil Services Inc.
In a statement about the event, SPLA quoted President Bush's own description of his pro-life record, spoken when he declared January 18, 2009 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. "My Administration has been committed to building a culture of life by vigorously promoting adoption and parental notification laws, opposing Federal funding for abortions overseas, encouraging teen abstinence, and funding crisis pregnancy programs," he said.
The former President also noted that he had signed three key pieces of legislation: the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the ban on partial-birth abortion, and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. SPLA indicated as well that Bush supported the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits groups that received federal money from using those funds to pay for abortions. That policy was reversed again by President Barack Obama only a few days after he took office.
In a statement the pro-life group acknowledged that many are wary of or even scoff at the claim that President Bush was a 'pro-life' president, given his role in initiating the Iraq war; but the group argued that the unintentional deaths of civilians in war-time Iraq don't measure up to the intentional killing of millions of unborn children in the womb.
"People are rightly bothered by civilian deaths during wartime," said SPLA. However, they said, "Here's a challenge: let's bring the number of abortions down to the number of civilian deaths in the Iraq War, then we'll be in a position to compare the two moral dilemmas and assign justice, injustice, responsibility and accountability."
"Until then, using the argument that President George W. Bush was not a pro-life president because of the civilian deaths he caused in Iraq makes political pawns of those victims, using their destruction to deflect people's attention away from the very real and pressing need to eliminate abortions in this province and country," they said.
Additionally, the group pointed out that while "the argument of warfare to destroy a brutal adversary deserves legitimate consideration, the conspiracy of lies from which emerges the arguments defending abortion, [have no] objective legitimacy."
When President Bush welcomed Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to the U.S. in 2008, he told the Pope, "In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred, ... and your message that 'each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary.'"
SPLA is co-organizing the 2009 national pro-life conference in Saskatoon from October 29-31, 2009. The theme is 'Building Bridges: Making Choices For Life,' with numerous speakers including Ezra Levant and LifeSiteNews.com editor John-Henry Westen.