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Office of the Press Secretary
(Charleston, West Virginia)

For Immediate Release

January 22, 2002


12:08 P.M. EST


THE PRESIDENT: Nellie, thank you very much. I want to thank you very much, and I want to wish everybody a good afternoon. I'm calling from the state of West Virginia. (Applause.)

I want to begin, Nellie, by praising you and your dedication to the cause of human life. For almost 30 years, Americans from every state in the Union have gathered in the Washington Mall in order to march for life. This march is an example of an inspiring commitment and of deep human compassion.

Everyone there believes, as I do, that every life is valuable; that our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and weak, the imperfect and even the unwanted; and that our nation should set a great goal that unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law. (Applause.)

Abortion is an issue that deeply divides our country. And we need to treat those with whom we disagree with respect and civility. We must overcome bitterness and rancor where we find it and seek common ground where we can. But we will continue to speak out on behalf of the most vulnerable members of our society.

We do so because we believe the promises of the Declaration of Independence are the common code of American life. They should apply to everyone, not just the healthy or the strong or the powerful. A generous society values all human life. A merciful society seeks to expand legal protection to every life, including early life. And a compassionate society will defend a simple, moral proposition: life should never be used as a tool, or a means to an end.

These are bedrock principles. And that is why my administration opposes partial-birth abortion and public funding for abortion; -- (applause) -- why we support teen abstinence and crisis pregnancy programs; adoption and parental notification laws; and why we are against all forms of human cloning. (Applause.)

And that is why I urge the United States Senate to support a comprehensive and effective ban on human cloning, a ban that was passed by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of the House of Representatives last July. (Applause.)

We are a society with enough compassion and wealth and love to care for both mothers and their children, and to seek the promise and potential of every single life. You're working and marching on behalf of a noble cause, and affirming a culture of life. Thank you for your persistence, for defending human dignity, and for caring for every member of the human family.

May God continue to bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

12:11 P.M. EST



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