Vatican welcomes Bush anti-abortion move
The Vatican, which sharply criticised President Clinton's support of abortion rights, gave prominent attention on Tuesday to President Bush's move to bar US funds to international family-planning groups involved in abortion.
The Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano reported on Bush's action without comment, but made it the top story in the newspaper.
Vatican Radio also carried the report and broadcast comments by a spokeswoman from the US Bishops Conference in Washington saying that Bush 'had the right instincts' and was 'going in the right direction' on abortion.
But the spokeswoman, Kathy Cleaver of the conference's Pro-Life Division, distanced herself from Bush on capital punishment.
During his six years as governor of Texas, 152 convicts were executed. Pope John Paul II has campaigned against the death penalty, including during a 1999 visit to St Louis. Cleaver told Vatican Radio that Bush was 'far afield on the issue of the death penalty'.
On abortion during the Clinton years, the Vatican used unusually strong language to condemn the administration policy. It called Clinton's veto of a bill banning certain late-term abortions as 'shameful' and an 'incredibly brutal act of aggression' against human life.