- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

President Bush’s threat to veto any effort by the Democrat-led Congress to expand federal funding for abortion or stem-cell research drew strong responses yesterday from activists.

“President Bush is more interested in satisfying a vocal, narrow minority of his political base than focusing on Americans’ priorities,” said Nancy Keenan, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League.

“His letter simply underscores the need to put a pro-choice president in the White House. That’s the best way to stop these attacks on women’s freedom and privacy.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group, was equally forceful, but in her praise of Mr. Bush.

“President Bush is projecting leadership and providing moral clarity at a critical time,” Mrs. Dannenfelser said.

Mr. Bush sent the letter Thursday to the top two Democratic congressional leaders, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

“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,” Mr. Bush wrote in the letter.

“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.”

Republican lawmakers asked Mr. Bush to take a pre-emptive stance, citing concern that Democrats will eliminate wording in appropriations bills that prohibit federal funding for abortion or add pro-choice policies.

They also raised the possibility of Democrats overturning the so-called “Mexico City” policy that bars foreign aid to nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion. President Clinton rescinded the policy on his first day in office, and Mr. Bush reinstated the policy on his first day in office.

In February, a group of 34 senators sent Mr. Bush a letter requesting that he “inform Congress of his intent to uphold pro-life legislation,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, who is a candidate for president and authored the letter to Mr. Bush.

On March 30, a group of 130 House Republicans sent a similar letter to Mr. Bush, focusing on a “long-standing tradition” of writing appropriations bills “to prevent direct taxpayer funding of abortion, restrictions on funding for abortion advocates, conscience protections, embryo protection, and anti-coercive family planning provisions.”

Brian Kennedy, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said the letters were a “proactive and pre-emptive move” by Republicans.

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