Pro-Life Groups Eye Supreme Court in Bush's Second Term

Pro-life groups hailed Bush's re-election as a victory for the pro-life movement and lost no time in urging the President to continue passing legislation which promotes a culture of life. They are also keeping watch of a possible vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court bench with the recent illness of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, hoping Bush will fill the spot with a pro-life judge.

“We are absolutely delighted to have four more years with pro-life President Bush,” exclaimed Carol Tobias, political director of National Right to Life, who also welcomed seven newly elected pro-life Senators in a statement.

President Bush has been praised for many of his pro-life legislation, including his approval of the Partial-birth Abortion Act in November 2003. His appointment of pro-life Judge Richard Pryor to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit also gained him favor with pro-life groups.

National Director of Priests for Life Fr. Frank Pavone also expressed optimism that the pro-life effort will be strengthened under Bush's second term.

"I look forward to the advances that will be made in the next few years, to re-shape the Supreme Court and to pass more legislation to end the barbaric violence of the abortion procedure in America," he said.

Many pro-life groups credited votes of pro-lifers to the re-election of Bush and reminded him of their expectations.

"President Bush won re-election because so many pro-life voters believe a second Bush term holds promise for future pro-life victories at the federal level," said Joe Scheidler, the National Director of the Chicago-based Pro-life Action League.

"We congratulate the President and look forward to seeing his pro-life convictions in action, especially by appointing pro-life judges."

Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, said, “Mr. President, you have been given a mandate to end abortion in our nation by the American people who cast their votes for you. Please move forward aggressively to appoint pro-life federal judges, and when the time comes, appoint Supreme Court Justices that will strike down the scourge of Roe v. Wade."

Pavone added, "As President Bush has said, we must make room for the unborn child. All across America, I have met countless voters who elected him precisely for that reason."

Rehnquist, 80, is currently undergoing treatment and chemotheraphy for thyroid cancer at home. His age and illness has implied that there will be a vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court in the upcoming presidential term.

However, despite the pressure from pro-life groups, President Bush has maintained that he will choose a judge based on his ability to interpret the law not based on his views on abortion.

"First of all, there's no vacancy for the Supreme Court and I will deal with a vacancy when there is one," he told reporters in a news conference Thursday.

"I told the people on the campaign trail that I'll pick somebody who knows the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law....I meant what I said."

One large Catholic pro-life group did not share in the rejoicing of the President's victory.

Judie Brown, president of American Life League, said that although President Bush "defeated one of the most solidly pro-abortion candidates to ever seek the White House," his first term did not exhibit a "total commitment to the pro-life effort."

"Organizations such as the National Right to Life Committee and Priests for Life now will focus on the Supreme Court. However, the justices will never focus on the true issue -- personhood -- unless they accept the proper case," lamented Brown.

She added, "Even in the unlikely event that Roe vs. Wade is overturned, the abysmal fact is that this would only return regulation of abortion to each state, which would do nothing to guarantee the protection of preborn children."

“We plead with you to act courageously on behalf of the innocent babies and pray for you to that end," said Newman.