January 23, 2006

Bush to anti-abortion activists: “We will prevail”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Monday
told opponents of abortion their views would eventually prevail
and urged them to work to convince more Americans of "the
rightness of our cause."

On the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark
Supreme Court decision that established federal abortion
rights, Bush addressed activists by telephone from Manhattan,
Kansas, and called their goals noble.

"We, of course, seek common ground where possible," he
said. "We're working to persuade more of our fellow Americans
of the rightness of our cause, and this is a cause that appeals
to the conscience of our citizens and is rooted in America's
deepest principles -- history tells us that with such a cause,
we will prevail."

The rally was held to protest the 1973 decision, which
opponents hope to overturn someday, especially now that Bush
has named two justices to the Supreme Court -- John Roberts,
who replaced the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and
Samuel Alito to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

O'Connor has often been the swing vote on abortion and
other social issues on the nine-member court.

Alito, whose confirmation by the Senate is expected soon,
gave no clear statement on whether he would vote to overturn
Roe if it came before the court, although he opposed abortion
in a memo he wrote as a Reagan administration attorney two
decades ago.

During his confirmation hearings, Alito reaffirmed his vow
to respect legal precedent and noted the 1973 decision had been
upheld repeatedly.

"You believe as I do that every human life has value, that
the strong have a duty to protect the weak and that the
self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence apply to
everyone, not just to those considered healthy or wanted or
convenient," Bush told the anti-abortion marchers.

As anti-abortion activists gathered in Washington and
elsewhere across the country, Bush headed for Kansas where he
spoke about the war on terrorism. As he has in past years, the
president phoned in his support rather than attend in person.