As some puzzled at the politics of Bush’s first veto, striking down the popular embryonic stem-cell research legislation, the Right Wing offered typical praise for the president–and atypical scorn for congressional Republicans.
“His unswerving commitment to the cause of the preborn underscores the lack of conviction displayed by the supposedly pro-life members of the House and Senate who voted to pass this barbarous legislation,” said Focus on the Family President James Dobson. “They should have known better,” added Focus on the Family Action’s Amanda Banks, speaking of the House of Representatives. Frank Pavone of Prists For Life also criticized Congress, saying “I thank God and I thank the values voters of this nation that we have a president who acknowledges” that such embryos should be protected from science.
Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, had the harshest words for Congress. “I think when you’ve got somebody as ‘pro-life’ as Bill Frist defending the killing of these babies, nobody should be surprised at anything the Senate does.” She added, “The Republican Party is not pro-life. It wears this veneer; it’s a cloak that it puts on and takes off, individual Republicans or the party as a whole, when it suits them.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List complained, “All of us in the movement worked so hard to help produce a really pro-life, strong Senate. We have seven new pro-life senators, and you know what we’ve got so far? This bill — stem-cell research, creating human beings in order to destroy them for science.”
Paul Schenck, director of the National Pro-Life Action Center, singled out Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), who supported the bill. Said Schenck, “No U.S. Senator who voted for this bill is fit to be the next president of the United States.” And Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family Action said that some Senators “who should know better” went “beyond cowardice” in supporting the legislation.
But mostly, the Right praised Bush. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins “thank[ed] the President for keeping his commitment to foster a culture of life.” Southern Baptist Convention policy leader Richard Land, who attended the veto event along with Perkins, commended the president for “standing by the principles he has articulated on this issue from the beginning.”
Human Life International praised Bush’s “courage to stand up for the American concepts of human rights and human dignity.” Operation Rescue called it “gratifying to see President Bush being a man of his word on this life and death issue.”
And the Knights of Columbus noted that it “appreciates the President’s action.”