How Former President George H.W. Bush Became Pro-Life

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush attends day two of the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center on September 2, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The GOP will nominate U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as the Republican choice for U.S.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

On Wednesday, former President George H.W. Bush's body was laid to rest after he passed away on Saturday at the age of 94. The former president's legacy is filled with important achievements, including his administration's pro-life policies that saved countless babies from the clutches of abortion.

But Mr. Bush didn't always hold a pro-life position.

According to then-president of the National Right to Life Committee Dr. Jack Willke, Bush described himself as "pro-choice" when he was named as the Republican vice-presidential candidate under would-be President Ronald Reagan. Dr. Willke explains that he "briefed" Mr. Bush for hours before there was change of heart.

As soon as he was notified that Bush was named to the ticket, reports Life News, Dr. Willke rushed to the hotel that housed the Republican HQ at the time of the campaign and asked to see the VP candidate. After explaining the reason he was there to Reagan's campaign manager, Bill Casey, Willke was seated alone with Mr. Bush to make his pro-life pitch.

"Jack stressed to Bush the need to elect Ronald Reagan, he conveyed the complication of having a running mate who supported abortion and suggested to the candidate that he brief him on the abortion issue. Mr. Bush began to share his opinion on the issue, but Jack interrupted him saying that he’d rather hear Mr. Bush’s position on abortion after the briefing," reports Life News.

"I need four hours to thoroughly brief you," insisted Willke, to a shocked Bush. "We represent a lot of pro-life Americans. If we can tell them that you thought this issue was so important, you dedicated a substantial amount of time to be briefed, it will make a favorable impression on our people."

"You make a valid point. Let’s do it," Bush answered, according to Willke.

Willke visited Bush’s Kennebunkport, Maine home a few weeks later, this time with a slide projector and a full presentation, which emphasized both "the beauty of life in the womb, as well as the shocking reality of what abortion does to babies and their mothers," and addressed the key arguments surrounding the issue.

Then came the moment of truth: Willke wanted to know if his pitch had changed Mr. Bush's position.

"​I wasn’t here before, but I am now," Bush told Willke. "I will support an amendment to the Constitution to forbid abortion and overturn Roe v. Wade, as a state’s rights amendment."

And the rest, as they say, is history.

You can watch Dr. Willke speak of the briefing with former President Bush here.

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