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My How Things Change! President Bush Praises Family Planning…

Jodi Jacobson

President Bush praises family planning?  On World Contraception Day? Don't fall off your chair. Nearly 40 years ago, ensuring universal access to family planning services was a cause that card-carrying Republicans were actually proud to embrace. So we're talkin' President George Bush, Senior, before he was President.

If you thought the whole “he was for it before he was against it” thing was an artifact of the John Kerry campaign, think again.  As United States Ambassador to the United Nations under the Nixon Administration, President George H.W. Bush (the first President Bush) wrote a letter to Alan Guttmacher (founder of the Guttmacher Institute) congratulating him on creation of a “family planning” stamp commemorating (gasp!!) Margaret Sanger.

This was in the good ol’ days: Republicans were for it before they were against it.  The Bush family sat on the board of Planned Parenthood and in numerous and sundry other ways supported global efforts to promote access to family planning services.

While women’s rights have always been political, this was before it became fashionable and politically expedient to quite obviously sacrifice both evidence and women’s bodies openly on the altar of electoral gains.

March 28, 1972

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Dear Dr. Guttmacher:

My congratulations to you and your colleagues on your “Family Planning” Stamp. Efforts like this, that help further work of such worldwide importance, are something for which this country can be justly proud.

I’m honored to own this first-day cover and deeply appreciative of the dedication that it symbolizes.

Yours very truly,
George Bush

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