I was shocked at recent headlines announcing that Barbara Pierce Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush, is the keynote speaker at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser Wednesday night, especially since it's happening in the Bush's home state of Texas, a bastion of pro-life advocacy.
When I read the headline, I thought, "What?" But when I did a little digging I found out the Bush family isn't a unified block when it comes to some issues.
You may remember the 2010 interview former first lady Laura Bush did on the "Larry King Show" where Mrs. Bush announced she approved of same-sex marriage and did not want to overturn Roe vs. Wade. In fact, she said, "I think it's important it remains legal for medical reasons."
This sounds like a plausible explanation for permitting abortions, but pro-life advocates point to studies like the one by Dr. William Robert Johnston, who suggests that less than 2 percent of the women surveyed received abortions because of health issues.
According to his findings, 98 percent of women who receive an abortion point to personal choice, which included sex-selection or because it would be inconvenient to their current life style.
In some ways, it's not surprising that a child departs from their parents' beliefs -- it happens every day.
Kristan Hawkins with Students for Life said, "While children aren't beholden to their parents' ideals, values and moral views, it is disappointing that Barbara Bush, daughter of President George W. Bush, is keynoting a Planned Parenthood fundraiser, especially since her father held clearly anti-abortion public stances."
Clearly there was not total agreement on some major issues over the years, and I'm sure there were some lively discussions around the dinner table as they passed the barbecue and cornbread.
We know that former President Bush was strongly pro-life. As governor of Texas, he said, "Children and unborn children should be protected by law and welcomed into life." To her credit, Mrs. Bush publicly supported her husband through decades of service, showing a united front.
Barbara's grandfather, George H.W. Bush, also had a strong pro-life record during his presidency. The National Right to Life Committee lists several actions the former president took while in office, including standing against the Freedom of Choice Act, vetoing 10 bills that contained pro-abortion provisions and urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
(Interestingly, though, her great-grandfather, Prescott Bush, was an active supporter of Planned Parenthood and served as treasurer of the group's first national fundraising campaign, according to Mother Jones.)
Now that the Bush family is out of the White House and politics, it seems it's time for the daughter to assert her independence.
Barbara, the co-founder of Global Health Corps, is all grown up and has ideas of her own; yet knowing how strongly her father felt and that her mother publicly supported him for many years, one has to wonder how she could call Planned Parenthood an "exceptional organization." It has to be a big feather in the cap of pro-choice advocates to get a chance to thumb their noses at the Bush pro-life legacy.
Over the years, we have had a chance to observe the former first family and their very public lives, and they have always presented as a family unit who loves and supports one another. I can imagine that bond of love is what sustains them even during some heated discussions over the dinner table. Families quarrel and have differences of opinion, but through it all we can hope that this praying family keeps the lines of communication open.