Former President George W. Bush will be presented with an award by the lay group Legatus, for his work in advancing the pro-life cause. The ceremony will be held at the annual Legatus Summit Feb. 5-6 in Dana Point, Calif., where Bush will address the business group for the first time since leaving office a year ago.
The prestigious Cardinal John J. O'Connor Pro-Life Award is being given in response to the former president's eight years of pro-life legislation. Legatus cites his administration's opposition to embryonic stem cell research, an executive order barring federal funds from being used for abortion related projects abroad, the appointment of two pro-life Supreme Court Justices and a rule protecting federally funded health employees from taking part in abortion or practices that conflict with their faith as policies that Bush helped enact during his presidency.
The group of Catholic business professionals also noted that one of the former president's last efforts while in office included a declaration of Jan. 18, 2009 as “National Sanctity of Human Life Day,” along with a statement that “the most basic duty of government is to protect the life of the innocent.”
The former president will be a accompanied by a host of other speakers at the event, including Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, actress Patricia Heaton, entrepreneur Frank J. Hanna III, Fr. Robert Spitzer, Newt and Callista Gingrich, and Thomas Donahue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve been speaking to a number of Legatus chapters about the Summit, and people are really excited,” said Kathleen Eaton, the event chairperson, on Thursday. “It’s been a rough year on a number of fronts, and they really need this shot in the arm. They want to come together to pray and learn more about what the Church is saying on different issues.”
Previous recipients of the Cardinal John J. O'Connor Pro-Life Award have included Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International, Judie Brown of the American Life League, Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Sam Brownback, and Rep. Henry Hyde.