President Bush held an East Room event today marking "progress in global women's human rights." The president and first lady discussed advancements for women in nations like Afghanistan, where the Taliban no longer keeps women and girls out of school, the voting booth or a job. In Iraq, too, women are gaining more political freedom, Bush said, adding "the systematic use of rape by Saddam's regime to dishonor families has ended. He sits in the prison cell."
But a consortium of U.S. women's groups marked International Women's Day earlier this week by giving Bush dismal grades for not backing up his pro-woman rhetoric with action. "While the Bush administration has been an outspoken supporter of women's rights, it has failed to follow through with the money and program assistance needed to reduce women's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and to improve women's security in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the consortium," said an article on Women's E-News.
It's a little rich, too, that Bush gave his talk today as his administration seeks to curtail women's rights at home, particularly in the area of abortion. "The advance of women's rights and the advance of liberty are ultimately inseparable," he said. Meanwhile, Bush's Justice Department is battling to dig up private medical records of women who have had abortions. One judge foiled John Ashcroft's efforts to get Planned Parenthood's records, but he's continuing his quest elsewhere.
On Thursday, Bush spoke to the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Colorado Springs and focused on his anti-abortion rights achievements. "You're doing God's work with conviction and kindness," he told them. "We're working to build a culture of life," he said.
I think someone once said Bush is running "the biggest say one thing do another administration in the history of the country." Oh, right.