In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer broadcast Monday, former President George W. Bush explained that his mother had a miscarriage when he was a teenager and showed him the fetus.
“She says to her teenage kid, ‘Here’s a fetus,’” Bush told Lauer. “There’s no question that it affected me.”
“I never expected to see the remains of the fetus, which she had saved in a jar to bring to the hospital,” Bush wrote in his new book Decision Points. “There was a human life, a little brother or sister.”
Bush’s mother, Barbara, gave him special permission to recount the story in his book, the New York Post reported.
The Daily Telegraph noted that while Bush is staunchly pro-life, his mother does not necessarily hold that point of view.
“I hate abortions, but just could not make that choice for someone else,” Bush’s mother once said.
But Bush told Lauer that the point of the story was not to show how he came to be pro-life.
“I thought it was very important for people to understand the relationship with my mom,” Bush said. “There’s no question that it affected me — my philosophy — we should respect life.”
“The purpose of the story really wasn’t to show the evolution of a pro-life point of view, it was really to show how my mom and I developed a relationship.”
Different people grieve in different ways, but Justin Frank, a psychoanalyst based in Washington D.C., told The Daily Beast‘s Casey Schwartz that saving the fetus is not a normal response.
“You don’t save a fetus in a jar — you just don’t do that,” Frank said. “I would consider that to be the behavior of an extremely depressed person. Probably also extremely angry… because I think she’s saying — essentially — that she has had to suffer.”
“In one murder case of a few years ago, keeping a miscarried fetus in a jar was even used as evidence of mental instability,” noted Schwartz. “The defense of Cesar Rodriquez, accused of murdering his 7-year old stepdaughter, Nixzmary Brown, argued that the girl’s mother was in fact responsible for her death, and, among the evidence, presented the fact that she kept a miscarried fetus in a jar on the dresser.”
This video is from NBC, broadcast Nov. 8, 2010.