Apr 29, 2004
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - A coalition of Members of Congress and top women’s organizations joined together on Capitol Hill today to demand an apology from White House aide Karen Hughes for her comments on CNN last Sunday equating pro-choice values to terrorist values.

In response to Hughes’s comments to The Washington Post that the criticism of her comments was a “gross distortion,” Maloney said: “She clearly still doesn’t get it. The only gross distortion here is mentioning law-abiding, patriotic, politically-active pro-choice Americans and terrorists in the same breath.

“People can watch her statement for themselves to see how Ms. Hughes clearly connects the dots between being pro-choice and being a terrorist. It’s the worst kind of gutter politics. I, again, call for Ms. Hughes to apologize and hope that the President will disassociate himself from her remarks.”

Maloney was joined at today’s unified call for an apology by:

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18)
Feminist Majority
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Women’s Law Center
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Council of Women’s Organizations, who spoke on behalf of the nearly 1400 organizations and 57 country delegations that joined in the April 25 March for Women’s Lives

Planned Parenthood also announced that it will coordinate local supporters to appear at upcoming Karen Hughes book signings to demand an apology.

In response to questions by Wolf Blitzer on Sunday about the issue of abortion, Hughes responded:
"President Bush has worked to say, let's be reasonable, let's work to value life, let's try to reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions. And I think those are the kind of policies that the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy, and really the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life." (CNN Late Edition, April 25, 2004)

Hughes attempted to defend herself in an e-mail to The Washington Post; her entire rebuttal, as published, was as follows:

“That is a gross distortion and I would never make such a comparison. Surely even the most strident of partisans, and reasonable people on both sides of the abortion issue, can agree that we have been reminded of the precious nature of human life and that we ought to work to reduce the number of abortions in America.” (The Washington Post, April 28, 2004, p. A09)

On Tuesday, Maloney and 8 of her colleagues sent a letter to President Bush asking for and apology from Hughes. (PDF of letter) Feminist Majority and Planned Parenthood have also sent letters demanding and apology.