Bush Became Pro-Life After His Mom Showed Him a Fetus in a Jar From Her Miscarriage

By
Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Set your DVRs, people. Matt Lauer has an interview with George W. Bush airing tonight to promote Decision Points in which the former president reveals what solidified his pro-life stance on abortion — tracing it back to an instance of mother-and-son bonding. After Barbara Bush suffered a devastating miscarriage, "she said to her teenage kid, 'Here's the fetus,'" Bush told Lauer, "gesturing as if he were holding the jar." According to the Post, Bush says he got special permission from his mom to recount the private incident in print. Lauer reads an excerpt from the memoir where Bush, who had to drive his mother to the hospital, wrote, "I never expected to see the remains of the fetus, which she had saved in a jar to bring to the hospital." In the interview, he tells Lauer, "There's no question that affected me, a philosophy that we should respect life," adding that, "[The anecdote] was really to show how my mom and I developed a relationship."

Setting aside questions of how Wasp dynasties maybe forge bonds a little differently than the rest of us, it seems unlikely that Barbara Bush was trying to influence his politics one way or the other. During her husband's bid for reelection in 1992, she said abortion should have no place in the Republican platform, and that she couldn't make the choice for someone else: "The personal things should be left out of, in my opinion, platforms and conventions."

George W. Bush bares family tragedy that changed him forever [NYP]