Senate Agrees to Pro-Life Bush Nominee on Federal District Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 6, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Agrees to Pro-Life Bush Nominee on Federal District Court

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 6, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Despite intense pressure from abortion advocates, pro-life attorney Leon Holmes was given a spot on a federal district court in Arkansas. With six Democrats joining most Republicans, Holmes received a 51-46 vote in favor of his nomination.

Pro-life advocates were concerned that some pro-abortion Republican senators would abandon the president. In fact, five Republicans opposed putting Holmes on the court.

But pro-life Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions chided those who opposes Holmes and said their opposition amounted to religious discrimination because of Holmes’ Catholic beliefs and opposition to abortion.

"Are we going to demand that they come before the Senate Judiciary Committee and renounce their faith before they become a federal judge?” Sessions asked.

Holmes, nominated, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is the former president of Arkansas Right to Life.

He also helped pass an amendment to the Arkansas constitution that prohibits taxpayer funding of virtually all abortions.

Republicans Senators Sue Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, John Warner of Virginia, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas joined most Democrats in opposing Holmes.

Democrats John Breaux and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln and David Pryor of Arkansas, Zell Miller of Georgia, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska joined most Republicans in supporting Holmes’ nomination.

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

Abortion advocates also opposed 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 blasted 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: See how your members of the Senate voted on Holmes’ nomination by clicking here.