Bush Denies Divisions Over Abortion Surfaced at Family MeetingCHRISTOPHER CONNELL , Associated Press
Jan. 24, 1990 11:26 AM ET
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush today labeled as ''pure, unadulterated malarkey'' a magazine report that deep divisions on abortion surfaced at a Bush family meeting.
Newsweek reported this week in its ''Periscope'' column that abortion was discussed at a private meeting of the Bushes with their children and spouses, with the men all anti-abortion and the women all pro-choice to some degree.
Bush was asked at today's news conference about that report and whether he could ''confirm the widely held view that your own wife supports abortion rights.''
''No, I couldn't confirm that,'' Bush replied.
''The meeting that I read about in one of the most respected publications was pure, unadulterated - 'malarkey' is the word I like to use. It just wasn't there,'' said the president.
Bush once supported the Supreme Court 1973 decision that legalized abortion, but now opposes it. He opposes abortion except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. He favors federal funding of abortions only to save the mother's life.
Mrs. Bush refuses to discuss her views on abortion.
Bush says there is room within the Republican party for a diversity of views on abortion.
He said at today's news conference, ''I've campaigned for people that disagree with me on abortion.''
Asked how he reconciled that view with his support for a constitutional amendment to outlaw most abortions, he replied:
''I reconcile that I was elected to try to fulfill the platform and the programs that I believe in. And so that's my personal choice, but that doesn't mean I have lack of respect for others.''
Bush addressed the annual March for Life on Monday by telephone from the Oval Office, telling the anti-abortion activists before they marched to the Supreme Court of ''my deep personal concern about abortion on demand.''
''Let me assure you that this president stands with you on this issue of life,'' said Bush, who supports a constitutional ''human life'' amendment to outlaw most abortions.