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January 28, 2008

Bush's Last State of the Union Address Underscores Need to Elect a Pro-Choice President

Washington, DC — As President Bush prepares to deliver his last State of the Union address, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, vowed to help elect a pro-choice president in November and turn the page on Bush's legacy of hostility toward women's freedom and privacy.

Bush's address comes on the heels of the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, a milestone that reaffirms the importance of elections in protecting a woman's right to choose established in that landmark case.

"The good news for America's pro-choice majority is that tonight's speech is Bush's last State of the Union address," Keenan said. "We fully expect that Bush and his allies will continue to seek ways to use government resources to undermine a woman's right to choose. While he's not likely to disclose his strategy in tonight's speech, NARAL Pro-Choice America will fight any last-minute attempts by Bush to attack women's freedom and privacy. We also are mobilizing pro-choice voters to ensure that a pro-choice president delivers the State of the Union to a Congress in 2009 with an even larger number of pro-choice members in the audience. Americans are ready to close the book on Bush's disastrous presidency."

Keenan cited the net gain of 23 pro-choice seats in the House and three in the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections as evidence of how electoral wins lead to legislative successes. The final budget bill for FY ‘08 included a $22 million increase for Title X, the nation's family-planning program, one of the largest increases in the program's history. The final spending bill also level-funded Bush's so-called "abstinence-only" programs, at $115 million — denying his FY '08 budget request of a 22-percent increase for these discredited curricula.

"The bottom line: Elections matter," Keenan said. "As the political leader of the pro-choice movement, NARAL Pro-Choice America will protect the gains we made in 2006 and elect even more pro-choice candidates to the House, the Senate, and, yes, the White House."

Keenan also outlined a list of Bush's attacks on women's reproductive rights, thus reminding Americans of the critical role the president plays in women's health and why it's important to put a pro-choice leader in the White House:

  • On Bush's first business day in office, he reinstituted the global gag rule — cutting off birth-control services to the world's poorest women.
  • Bush appointed John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Both voted to uphold the first-ever Federal Abortion Ban, which effectively eliminated one of Roe's core protections for women's health.
  • Since 2001, Bush more than doubled the funding for ineffective and discredited "abstinence-only" programs that deny young people accurate information about how to protect themselves.
  • For three years, Bush political appointees interfered with the FDA's plans to make emergency contraception available for over-the-counter sales.
  • Bush canceled family-planning funds for the United Nations reproductive health program (UNFPA) for six straight years.
  • Bush appointed two anti-birth-control activists, Eric Keroack and Susan Orr, to lead our nation's family-planning program at the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Bush pushed through a controversial "unborn child" regulation, making an embryo or a fetus — but not a pregnant woman — eligible for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

For more information about Bush's attacks on women's freedom and privacy, please visit

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