by Steven Ertelt
October 26, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates are opposing President Bush’s pick for a top State Department position that would oversee international refugee and population issues. They say Bush’s selection of former UN women’s representative Ellen Sauerbrey is problematic because she oppose abortion.
Sauerbrey, a former Maryland state lawmaker and gubernatorial candidate, was named to be the assistant secretary of state for population and her nomination requires Senate approval.
But pro-abortion Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee claim her pro-life views would make it difficult for the U.S. to secure help for refugees
In addition, twelve pro-abortion advocacy groups wrote a letter to Bush urging him to withdraw the nomination. They said Sauerbrey has "shown outright hostility toward women‘s rights and toward international family planning and related programs" in four years as U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, according to a Herald News Daily report.
During hearings on her nomination in the committee, Sauerbrey said she had the heart and the management experience necessary for the job.
"I think most important, you need to have the compassion and caring for helping to protect vulnerable people," Sauerbrey said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice endorsed Sauerbrey‘s nomination "because of her devotion to human rights and human liberty, values that are key to the president‘s foreign policy."
But Barbara Boxer, a California senator and a leading abortion advocate, says she’s troubled by the president’s choice. There is no word on whether she will oppose Sauerbrey’s nomination or filibuster it on the Senate floor.
"I question the wisdom of putting someone in that position who I believe has shown zealotry on the issue of reproductive health, including family planning," Boxer said according to Herald News Daily. "What it says to me is that there‘s this focus on anti-choice that I‘m afraid is going to be a diversion."
In her new position, Sauerbrey would oversee more than $700 million worth of programs for refugee protection, resettlement and humanitarian assistance.
This year, Sauerbrey lobbied other nations to include language in a document reaffirming a declaration on women and population developed at the 1995 Cairo population conference to ensure that it did not back abortion.
The U.S. eventually agreed to drop the request for the language when other nations agreed that they would not use the document to promote overturning laws against abortion in dozens of countries.
Darla St. Martin, associate executive director of National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com that "Ellen Sauerbrey had worked very hard carrying out the president’s pro-life policies."
"This new job will give her another excellent opportunity to help make sure that the President’s pro-life policies are represented at the UN," St. Martin added.
Bush named her to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights shortly after taking office and promoted her to the post at the United Nations a year later.
Sauerbrey served in the Maryland state House for 18 years, including eight as the Republican leader. In 1994 and 1998 she challenged pro-abortion Governor Parris Glendening, and lost by fewer than 6,000 votes in her first bid.
Some of the groups that wrote to the president on Sauerbrey include the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Feminist Majority.