Republican Party Announces Pro-Life Speakers at National Convention

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican Party Announces Pro-Life Speakers at National Convention

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 22, 2004

Washington, DC ( — It didn’t take long for complaints that many on the list of initial speakers at the Republican Party national convention in August were pro-abortion to bear fruit. On Wednesday, the party released a list of additional speakers that included several top pro-life lawmakers.

The newest list of speakers includes Senate Majority Leader Bill First, a doctor from Tennessee who recently spoke in favor of President Bush’s position against taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the sponsor of the partial-birth abortion ban Bush signed into law, will also speak as will Senator Sam Brownback, who has been the leading pro-life lawmaker fighting human cloning.

Other pro-life speakers on the new list include Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Kentucky Congresswoman Anne Northup, and Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, a leading black Republican.

Jim Sebolka of the Catholic Information Center said he was "most pleased" to see several pro-life luminaries on the latest list of convention speakers.

Though President Bush and the Republican Party take strong pro-life positions, members of Congress became concerned when the initial list of convention speakers included top Republicans that back abortion.

Some 127 Republican members of Congress had drafted a letter to the president urging him to request that Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, a longtime pro-life champion, be added to the list of those speaking at the GOP convention.

Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana, who is pro-life, organized the letter and told the Washington Times, "Henry’s name has been synonymous with the pro-life movement for the last 30 years."

Last month, the convention announced the list of prime-time speakers, approved by Bush advisor Karl Rove.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York Gov. George Pataki, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani — all pro-abortion — will be featured in key prime-time speaking slots.

The selection of the three New York politicians likely has to do with the convention being held in New York City, some observers say, as well as Giuliani’s efforts to handle the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The initial convention speakers list also included pro-life speakers, such as Senator John McCain, who has angered pro-life advocates on other issues, Secretary of Education Rod Paige, and Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, a pro-life Democrat who has endorsed Bush.