KAREN HUGHES COMPARES PRO-CHOICE AMERICANS TO TERRORISTS; CONGRESSIONAL PRO-CHOICE MARCHERS ASK BUSH FOR APOLOGY

Apr 27, 2004
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - As over a million demonstrators exercised their right to free speech in a march on Washington Sunday, top Bush aide Karen Hughes was live on CNN comparing pro-choice Americans to terrorists. Rep Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), a staunch pro-choice Member of Congress who spoke at yesterday’s March for Women’s Lives, along with seven other Members of Congress who appeared on stage during the march, today sent a letter to President Bush calling for an apology for Hughes’s statement (PDF of letter).

In an interview on Sunday’s Late Edition, Hughes said Americans are “valuing life more,” that President Bush has said “let’s work to value life, let’s try to reduce the number of abortions,” and that “the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life.” (CNN Late Edition, April 25, 2004)

Along with the letter to Bush, Maloney said the following:

“To discuss abortion politics and terrorism in the same breath is distasteful and ugly, and I hope Ms. Hughes will promptly apologize. It is extremely disrespectful, especially to those who lost loved ones on 9/11, to use our country’s unity against terrorists to cause even more vile divisions over a woman’s right to choose. Her argument takes us down a dangerous road.”

Members who have signed the letter (8): Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI-02), Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH-11), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-09), Rep. Hilda Solis (CA-32), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07).

Text of letter:

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

April 27, 2004

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing out of great concern about comments made by one of your top campaign advisors regarding a woman’s right to choose. In a live interview on CNN, Karen Hughes made the following statement:

“I think after September 11th the American people are valuing life more and realizing that we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life.
“And 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. It's the founding conviction of our country, that we're endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, the right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“Unfortunately our enemies in the terror network, as we're seeing repeatedly in the headlines these days, don't value any life, not even the innocent and not even their own.” (CNN Late Edition, April 25, 2004)

By claiming that those who “value life” want to reduce abortions, then going on to say that the difference between us and the terrorists is that “we value every life,” Ms. Hughes’s argument sounds a lot like an effort to equate those who are pro-choice with terrorists. This is a dangerous, ugly and slanderous argument that has no place in our nation’s political discourse. To draw even a remote comparison between any law-abiding, patriotic American and the terrorists, whose goal is to wipe our country off the map, is not only insulting to law-abiding Americans, it shows particular disrespect to the victims of 9/11 and their families.

Mr. President, you came to office by promising to be “a uniter, not a divider.” Your aide’s comments have the potential to be extremely divisive by invoking the War on Terrorism. It is cheap and distasteful politics, and we ask you to take a stand against it.

We urge you to have Ms. Hughes apologize for her comments. We urge you to clarify for the public that reproductive choice and terrorism are completely unrelated issues and that all Americans, regardless of their beliefs about a woman’s right to choose, are united against the terrorists. This is important for the unity of our country and its political discourse. We know you will take proper action.

Sincerely,

CAROLYN B. MALONEY

TAMMY BALDWIN

STEPHANIE TUBBS JONES

JERROLD NADLER

JAN SCHAKOWSKY

SHEILA JACKSON-LEE

BARBARA LEE

HILDA SOLIS

RAÚL M. GRIJALVA

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