The former President said he was shown the remains of his mother’s baby, who had died as a result of a miscarriage, when he was only a young man.
The young Bush was taken aback, but, writing in his soon-to-be-released memoirs, he said: “There was a human life, a little brother or sister”.
His mother, Barbara Bush, suffered a miscarriage at home and her son George, then a teenager, drove her to a hospital.
She had the remains of her miscarried baby in a jar, and he saw it.
He acknowledged that the experience had definitely affected his views on when life begins, and he described himself as having been a “pro-life President”.
The emotional story has emerged as the former President spoke to American TV about his up-coming book, Decision Points. He said he had his mother’s permission to speak about the event.
While in office President George W Bush imposed a ban on the federal funding of controversial research into new stem cell lines. The research would have involved the destruction of human embryos.
However, in March last year President Barack Obama overturned the ban.
A legal battle has now ensued over the decision, with the latest move coming from a US appeals court which says it needs more time to consider the case.