Jeb Bush began his 2016 presidential campaign by dubbing himself “the most pro-life governor on this stage.” It’s a shame he has chosen to end his political career fighting against the pro-life movement.
In order to bolster his fledgling campaign, Jeb attacked Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, not on experience or accomplishments, but because both are allegedly too pro-life.
To be sure the left did not miss his message, he had surrogate Lindsey Graham take it directly to MSNBC. “If a woman is raped in Ted Cruz’s world, she’s going to have to carry the baby of the rapist,” he said. “Most pro-life people don’t go there.”
Their words were no mere slip of the tongue. Jeb’s Right to Rise super PAC considered spending up to $20 million to portray Rubio’s philosophical opposition to abortion in the case of rape or incest as unelectable and extreme.
That’s quite a change from a candidate who said last November, “I don’t think anybody should attack someone who’s pro life.”
Politics is a hardball business, and Cruz and Rubio are capable of defending themselves – which is more than can be said for children conceived in rape.
Pro-life advocates believe no human being deserves the death penalty for the crimes of her father. While we may quibble over the best way to move forward, no one who truly shares our views would denigrate those children or the efforts made to save them, as Jeb Bush has.
Bush’s remarks imply that abortion is therapeutic for rape victims, something unsupported by the facts. Studies have found that 70 percent of women who are raped reject abortion – and 78 percent of those who abort later regretted the decision. Indeed, abortion is often a means of concealing rape, a deception Planned Parenthood facilitates all-too-willingly.
Focusing on the one percent of abortions performed because of rape is the Democrats’ favorite way to justify their liberal policies of unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion up to the point of birth. Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List said that, by presenting the pro-life view rather than the Democratic platform as extreme, the Bush campaign is “doing the bidding of Planned Parenthood.”
Yet somehow, Jeb has been allowed to skate. Although 10 female pro-life leaders signed a public statement asking voters to support “anyone but Donald Trump,” not one of them has said Jeb should be beyond the pale for directly attacking the pro-life message.
So I will: Jeb, consider your presidential campaign aborted.
Pro-life advocates are used to being called misogynistic, racist, even burgeoning domestic terrorists by the other side. But attacks from public officials who call themselves pro-life are especially harmful. Should we succeed in nominating one of our own, the airwaves will be heavy with images of Bush, Graham, and Chris Christie telling the nation that our candidate – and our human rights cause – is unacceptable. Unsurprisingly, NARAL and the pro-choice blogosphere have already picked up this argument.
Primary battles have a way of surfacing in the general election – like when Al Gore chided Mike Dukakis for releasing Willie Horton. Someone surnamed Bush ought to know that better than anyone.
But then, Bush has deflected responsibility for his actions throughout this campaign.
When asked about his role as director of the Bloomberg Philanthropies – which launched a multimillion dollar partnership with Planned Parenthood to overturn pro-life laws around the world – he replied, “It doesn’t matter.”
Jeb had the opportunity to stop Terri Schiavo from being starved to death and denied all nourishment — including the Eucharist — but Jeb backed down when local police refused to cooperate. Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said that passivity “disqualified” Bush.
Now “the most pro-life governor” is attacking more pro-life candidates and those in the base who support all life irrespective of that individual’s race, sex, economic status, disability, or father’s criminal history.
Voters who value life are willing to accept an imperfect candidate; no other kind is available. But young pro-life leaders have watched for decades as the GOP Establishment has tried to blame its serial electoral failures on our movement. Now, it is trying to consolidate its control of the party by impugning a movement dedicated to the proposition that the most innocent members of society should not be dismembered.
If a candidate is trying to demonize the pro-life message inside the Republican Party, he has made us the enemy. He has tried to squeeze us out of the political process – and we should return the favor.
The good news is every other candidate who has criticized Republican pro-life front runners – Gov. George Pataki, Chris Christie, and Graham himself – has dropped out of the race.
Let Jeb follow. He’s already proven he is ill-equipped to lead.
Ben Johnson is U.S. Bureau Chief of LifeSiteNews.com and guest host of “Nothing But Truth with Crane Durham” on the AFR Talk Radio Network. His opinions are his own. His personal website is TheRightsWriter.com.