Senate Battle Over Pro-Life Judicial Nominee Occurs Tuesday

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Battle Over Pro-Life Judicial Nominee Occurs Tuesday

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 5, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Members of the U.S. Senate are expected to battle on Tuesday over pro-life district court nominee Leon Holmes. The former president of Arkansas Right to Life, Holmes has come under criticism from abortion advocates.

Because of opposition to his nomination, Holmes has waited for seventeen months for a confirmation vote from the full Senate.

Though abortion advocates, including Republicans, put a hold on his vote through a filibuster, the White House reached an agreement with Senate Democrats to allow a vote on Holmes and other nominees as long as President Bush doesn’t use any more recess appointments this year.

Holmes’ confirmation is by no means certain. Republicans have typically supported the president’s nominees, but pro-life advocates are concerned some GOP senators who back abortion will vote against him.

Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania as well as Maine’s Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska may oppose the president on the vote. If so, Holmes’ nomination is sunk.

But, pro-life advocates aren’t willing to let the nomination go down without a fight. Several leading conservative groups organized a mobilization conference call last week to turn out phone calls in favor of Holmes.

President Bush nominated Leon Holmes for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

In addition to serving as president of Arkansas Right to Life, he helped form the Pro-Life Educational Alliance in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and served as a Secretary for the Unborn Child Amendment Committee.

The latter group passed an amendment to the Arkansas constitution that prohibits taxpayer funding of virtually all abortions.

Abortion advocates also oppose Holmes because of his comments on rape and abortion.

Holmes has said abortion advocates who say abortion should be legal for cases of rape and incest are using the argument as a "red herring" because "conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami."

In an email alert to its supporters, NARAL blasts Holmes as "the worst of Bush’s bunch."

"He’s shown shocking ignorance on facts surrounding the right to choose and reproductive health," the lobbying group wrote.

While NARAL condemns Holmes for not knowing the facts surrounding rape and abortion, figures from a national coalition of abortion businesses lend credence to Holmes’ arguments.

The National Abortion Federation reports that only 5.4 percent of rape victims become pregnant. Of the more than 1.2 million abortions that take place annually in the United States, only 16,000 abortions (just over one percent) are performed each year on women who conceive after suffering from a rape.

Pro-life groups say more should be done to provide women who are raped with counseling and pregnancy resources and more attention should be paid to prosecuting the rapist than making sure abortion is available.

ACTION: Express your opinion on the nomination of pro-life Judge Leon Holmes. Contact any Senator by calling 202-224-3121 or find specific contact information at