Jonathon van Maren

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A sad story: Our pro-life presidents, and their pro-abortion children

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

March 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) - George W. Bush was my first political hero. I was in the seventh grade when his first term began, and I was enthralled by the idea of a Christian president who unashamedly supported social conservative policies.

Bush banned funding for embryonic stem cell research, and invited “snowflake babies” who began their lives as frozen embryos to surround him as he vetoed that funding. He reinstated the Mexico City Policy, banning any funding for abortion around the world. When he signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, he noted, “When we look to the unborn child, the real issue is not when life begins, but when love begins.” Later, in his memoir Decision Points, Bush vividly recounted how his mom had shown him the body of his miscarried sibling, and the impact this experience had on his pro-life position.

But for some reason, pro-life Republican presidents seem to have very pro-abortion family members. Nancy Reagan, who asked George W. Bush in a personal letter to fund embryonic stem cell research and attempted to temper the influence of pro-life leaders in her husband’s administration once snapped, “I don’t give a damn about the right-to-lifers,” demanding that explicit language on abortion be removed from a State of the Union Address. This from the wife of a man who wrote the book Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation and delivered several powerful radio addresses on abortion. With the sole exception of adopted son Michael, the Reagan children are all very pro-abortion. The values were not passed on.

And aside from George W. Bush, most of the Bush family seems to be in the abortion camp as well. Prescott Bush, George W.’s grandfather, served as the treasurer for Planned Parenthood in 1947, and was nicknamed “Rubbers” by his Senate colleagues for his relentless promotion of family planning. George H. W. Bush was a strong supporter of the United Nations Population Fund, and purportedly defended China’s One Child Policy on occasion, even though he later followed Ronald Reagan’s footsteps and attempted to reach out to pro-lifers by extending the Mexico City Policy and permitting his Justice Department to routinely defend pro-lifers. Bush the Elder’s Justice Department even formally requested—twice—that cases be used as opportunities to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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Bush Sr.’s wife Barbara Bush, however, is firmly pro-abortion. And several years after George W. Bush’s presidency ended, his wife Laura indicated that she supported abortion and gay marriage, as well. Her daughter Barbara followed by starring in a video supporting gay marriage for the Human Rights Campaign. George W. Bush, on the other hand, had supported a Constitutional amendment recognizing that marriage was between a man and a woman.

So it’s no particular surprise - even if it’s very disappointing - that Barbara Pierce Bush, one of George and Laura’s twin girls, is headlining a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in Fort Worth, Texas. This comes on the heels of an unprecedented push to end Planned Parenthood’s federal funding for good after the Center for Medical Progress released grotesque videos revealing that abortionists working out of Planned Parenthood clinics were pillaging aborted babies for organs to sell to bio-tech firms. Barbara’s friendship with Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards is somewhat strange, too, considering that George W. Bush beat Cecile’s mother Ann Richards for the governorship of Texas—the same Ann Richards who once delivered a scathing speech mocking Bush the Elder. Barbara, however, is a liberal New York millennial—and Cecile Richards is just her type.

It's not a shame only because Barbara is the daughter of George W. Bush, the first Republican president to leave us two Supreme Court justices who can be relied upon to overturn Roe v. Wade when the opportunity presents itself. It’s a shame because this story is so common: The parents (or in this case, parent) are pro-life, but don’t pass those values on to their children.

If everyone who was pro-life did their very best to pass that on to their children, to teach their children about the baby in the womb and why it is so awful to do harm to that baby, the pro-life movement would have a far easier time shifting public opinion. It’s important to remember that taking a public stand for something is no replacement for passing your values on to your children.

I’ve always been fond of George W. Bush—seeing him at Trump’s Inauguration was the highlight of the event for me. Post-presidency, it was almost amusing to watch everyone else realize that Bush, with all his mistakes and flaws, was a good and decent man. But to see that his pro-life convictions have not been passed on to his children is very disappointing. 

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a writer and pro-life speaker who has given presentations across North America on abortion and pro-life strategy.

Jonathon first got involved in the pro-life movement after viewing a graphic abortion video in 2007, which convicted him to get active. He ran Simon Fraser University Students for Life as president from 2009-2010, while speaking in both the United States and Canada on pro-life issues.

Jonathon graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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