President Bush praised National Right to Life Committee members as "fearless shepherds of the innocent and the unborn" in a taped message played during the group's annual convention Thursday night.

"You've been faithful stewards of our Declaration of Independence's promise that all people have an inalienable right to life," he said during his three-minute remarks. "You've been fearless shepherds of the innocent and the unborn, and through your witness, you have helped more of our citizens understand that the mark of great of nation is the respect that we give to every single human life."

Bush used his remarks to list his administration's achievements with the help of anti-abortion activists. They included passage of a law banning a late-term abortion procedure critics call partial-birth abortion.

The president also noted that law was upheld in April by a U.S. Supreme Court majority that included his two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

"I ask you to continue to work with respect and civility to appeal to the hearts and conscience of a good nation, so we can encourage more Americans to embrace a culture of life," Bush said.