Senate Confirms "Pro-Life" U.N. Ambassador, Human Cloning a Concern

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Confirms "Pro-Life" U.N. Ambassador, Human Cloning a Concern

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 24, 2004

Washington, DC ( — The Senate has confirmed former Missouri senator John Danforth to become the new ambassador to the United Nations. While Danforth compiled a pro-life voting record on abortion, some pro-life advocates are concerned that he will deviate from President Bush’s position against human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

The Bush administration has been waging a heated battle at the United Nations to pass a comprehensive ban on human cloning that would prevent the grisly practice for both reproductive and research purposes.

Embryonic stem cell research advocates have resisted a ban, saying it would curtail the research, which has not yet proven effective in clinical trials.

Danforth accumulated a strong pro-life voting record during his tenure in Congress, receiving high marks from the National Right to Life Committee and obtaining a 100% pro-life voting record during several years.

However, at the end of Danforth’s career, he upset the pro-life community by supporting the use of fetal tissue from abortions in research.

One Washington-based pro-life advocate told that some pro-life lawmakers are worried Danforth’s position in favor of embryonic stem cell research means he won’t be a strong proponent of the president’s position on bioethics issues.

Danforth replaces John Negroponte, who was sworn Wednesday as U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Negroponte stood firm in promoting the president’s position against all human cloning.

Other pro-life advocates contacted by said they were confident Danforth will toe the Bush administration line and are willing to wait and see whether he accurately represents the president or inserts his own views into the lobbying process.

The U.N. is expected to vote on the human cloning ban, co-sponsored by Costa Rica and the United States, when it reconvenes in September.

Danforth will be an advocate for the Bush administration on abortion issues — especially taxpayer funding of the UNFPA, which has been denied funds for its involvement in China’s policy of forced abortions and sterilizations.

Danforth voted consistently against taxpayer funding of abortions — including sending taxpayer money to groups that perform abortions in other countries or lobby other nations and the United Nations to make abortion legal worldwide.

He also co-sponsored a human life amendment to the constitution to guarantee legal protection to unborn children and overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

While in the Senate, Danforth also led the confirmation battle to confirm pro-life Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He voted for failed pro-life Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork as well.

He is a licensed Episcopal priest, former Missouri Attorney General, and currently in private practice. Danforth is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale University’s law school.