by Steven Ertelt
January 6, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush has chosen as his new domestic policy advisor a pro-life advocate whose previous nomination to a federal appeals court was held up by Senate Democrats who launched a filibuster over abortion.
The president named Claude Allen as his chief consultant on U.S. policy on Wednesday.
Allen previously served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was considered a potential nominee to head the department and become a member of Bush’s cabinet. Bush wound up nominating pro-life former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt for that post.
"He is a dedicated public servant and a tireless advocate for those in need. I look forward to his continued service in this new role as my domestic policy adviser," Bush said in a statement about Allen.
Having worked on health issues with former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, Allen is known as a staunch pro-life advocate who opposes abortion and strongly supports abstinence education.
In the Virginia position, he opposed using federal tax money to pay for abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.
Abortion advocates were upset that Bush would select Allen to counsel him on such domestic issues, but were pleased that he will not take a seat on one of the nation’s top courts.
"It continues to show that Bush’s right-wing extremism is now on the personal staff," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL. "We believe that’s better than putting him in a federal judgeship."
But Jayd Henricks of the Family Research Council hailed the choice as a "sign the White House is interested in giving serious attention to important domestic issues."
While in Virginia, Allen also earned praise from the pro-life community when he went to court to prevent Michele Finn from having her husband, Hugh Finn, disconnected from his feeding tube, in a case similar to that of Terri Schiavo.
Allen was nominated in April 2003 to a spot on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and renominated in January 2004. His nominations were filibustered both times.
Allen formerly worked for pro-life U.S. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Duke University School of Law.