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JUNE 22, 1999  11:05 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
NARAL
William J. Lutz of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, 202-973-3032
George W. Bush's Actions as Governor Contrast With Campaign Image as Centrist on Abortion
 
WASHINGTON - June 22 - The following was released today by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League:

George W. Bush is attempting to portray himself as a centrist on the issue of abortion while on the Presidential campaign trail, but his fervent opposition to a woman's right to choose and his record as Governor of Texas contrast starkly with his centrist image. In fact, a National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) analysis of 1999 state legislative activity on abortion and reproductive rights shows that, under Bush's leadership, the Texas state legislature passed more anti-choice bills in 1999 than any other state. On Sunday, Bush signed nine anti-choice provisions passed during the 1999 session alone.

"George W. Bush is trying to position himself as a centrist presidential candidate. In doing so, he is downplaying both his opposition to the right to choose and the importance of the choice issue in the Presidential contest," said NARAL President Kate Michelman. "In Texas, Bush has led an aggressive campaign to restrict reproductive choice for women. But on the campaign trail he consistently depicts himself as a candidate who poses little threat to the freedom to choose. If this is how George W. Bush practices his brand of 'compassionate conservatism' as Governor, one can only wonder what 'compassionate' reproductive health policies he would enact as president."

George W. Bush has signed 16 anti-choice provisions in the three legislative sessions during which he has been governor. Most recently in the 1999 Texas legislative session, Bush supported and has signed more anti-choice provisions than any other governor in the country. Among them:

-- a parental involvement in abortion law;

-- a waiting period for minors seeking abortion services;

-- a law making it a felony for a grandparent to take his or her 14-16 year-old grandchild out of state to obtain an abortion without notifying the parents, even if doing so might result in physical or emotional abuse or if her pregnancy is the result of incest;

-- a law expanding Texas' onerous and discriminatory abortion clinic regulations and imposing the $2500 licensing fee on specified physicians' offices, potentially needlessly raising the cost of an abortion;

-- a prohibition blocking school-based health care centers from providing reproductive health services, counseling, or referrals;

-- a prohibition on family planning funding for organizations that provide abortion services;

-- a prohibition on family planning funding for organizations that dispense prescription contraceptives to minors without parental consent;

-- a law prohibiting Children's Health Insurance Programs from covering reproductive services; and

-- a law denying tax exemptions to non-profit organizations that perform, make referrals for, or assist specified organizations that perform or refer for abortions.

In the 1995 and 1997 legislative sessions, Bush signed seven anti-choice provisions including new and unnecessary clinic regulations, restrictions on legal assistance for poor women with regard to reproductive choice, restrictions on family planning funding and sexuality education, and a law allowing HMOs to opt out of providing essential reproductive health services to plan members.

"George W. Bush has demonstrated real leadership when it comes to taking away a woman's right to choose and curtailing their reproductive options," said Michelman. "Moreover, his anti-choice policies harm those who deserve our compassion the most the poor and young women in crisis. Despite the campaign rhetoric, his record reveals the true George W. Bush. He is anti-choice and hostile to the reproductive rights of American women."

NARAL is conducting an ongoing advertising and grassroots public education campaign to inform the American public about Bush's anti-choice stance, including the use of TV, radio and Internet spots in key markets along Bush's campaign trail.

"Despite his campaign maneuvering, George W. Bush is a threat to a woman's right to choose," continued Michelman. "He is solidly anti-choice and we are here to make sure the American public knows it."

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