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Human life is a ‘gift from our Creator,’ President Bush tells March for Life crowd

WASHINGTON (BP)–President Bush renewed his call for Congress to ban all forms of human cloning Jan. 23 and reiterated his desire to see a culture of life established in the United States during a message to tens of thousands of Americans gathered for the annual March for Life in Washington.

“Because human life is a gift from our Creator and should never be used as a means to an end, we will not sanction the creation of life only to destroy it,” Bush said via telephone from Manhattan, Kan.

The March for Life rally has been held on the Mall in Washington every year since the first anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, and this year participants noted what they regard as winds of change blowing through the national abortion climate, specifically with the pending confirmation of Samuel Alito as a new Supreme Court justice.

Bush thanked the pro-life crowd for their “devotion to such a noble cause.”

“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. These principles call us to defend the sick and the dying, persons with disabilities and birth defects, all who are weak and vulnerable, especially unborn children,” the president said to applause.

Those who believe in such principles are making good progress in defending them, Bush said, recalling that one of his first acts as president was to ban the use of taxpayer money on programs that promote abortion overseas. He thanked those who helped get the partial-birth abortion ban to his desk so he could sign it, and he cited the passage of “Laci and Conner’s Law,” that those who harm or kill a pregnant woman can be charged with harming or killing her unborn child as well.

“We’re vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, teen abstinence, crisis pregnancy programs and the vital work of our faith-based groups,” Bush said. “We’re sending a clear message to any woman facing a crisis pregnancy: We love you, we love your child and we’re here to help you.”

Even so, there is more work to be done, the president said, asking the Senate to pass a bill approved by the House that would ensure that state parental involvement laws are not “circumvented by those who take minors across state lines to have abortions.”

Bush said Americans must respect human life when advancing medical science, which means supporting ethical treatment and research using stem cells from umbilical cord blood rather than embryonic stem cells.

“By changing laws we can change our culture. And your persistence and prayers … are making a real difference,” he said. “We, of course, seek common ground where possible; 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 — and history tells us that with such a cause, we will prevail.”

This marked the sixth straight year Bush addressed rally participants through an amplified telephone line.

Many in the crowd were buoyed by the expectation that Alito would soon be confirmed to the Supreme Court, where he possibly could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Every time someone says Judge Alito’s name, a roar goes up,” Gus Holzmiller, a march participant, told The New York Times.

During his confirmation hearings, Alito said “there needs to be a special justification for overturning a prior precedent.”

“If the killing of 46 million babies isn’t sufficient justification for overruling that awful case, I don’t know what is,” Rep. Steve Chabot, R.-Ohio, said at the rally, referring to the number of abortions that have been performed in the United States since Roe was decided. Statistics indicate the number may have surpassed 47 million in 2005.

Despite widespread confidence from marchers, pro-choice advocates were not backing down. Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, told The Times that recent polls show 65 percent of Americans do not want Roe overturned. She added that pro-lifers “smell a victory.”

“It’s a perfect storm for them. They have an anti-choice president and an anti-choice Congress. Now they want an anti-choice Supreme Court,” Keenan said.

Various media outlets reported large numbers of young people in attendance at the rally, including children, teens and college students who attended with their parents and classmates. Police said the march was peaceful and no arrests were made, according to The Washington Times.

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