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Ethics professor Glen Harold Stassen has claimed that President Bush’s economic and health policies have led to rising abortion rates. The National Right to Life Committee, in its response to Stassen, noted that he had signed a 1977 document in support of Roe v. Wade. Whether Stassen himself opposes legal abortion does not, of course, affect whether his statistical argument is correct, but it does suggest that his self-presentation as a pro-lifer is misleading. Stassen came back with a denial: “I did not sign a statement in 1977 supporting Roe V Wade; along with very large numbers of Christian ethicists, I signed a statement supporting academic freedom for Christian ethicists and moral theologians who take varieties of positions on these issues, and who were under pressure in some schools. I do not appreciate the personal attack.” That 1977 statement has now been posted. The most charitable view is that Stassen’s memory has failed him: The document is an unequivocal statement of support for Roe and says zilch about academic freedom. If Stassen has changed his views since then, good for him. But he ought to correct the record.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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