President Bush Names Pro-Life Woman to Key State Department Post

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 5, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Names Pro-Life Woman to Key State Department Post Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 5, 2006

Washington, DC ( — With Congress out of session and abortion advocates in the Senate no longer able to hold it up, President Bush moved on the nomination of Ellen Sauerbrey to a top State Department position. Sauerbrey was one of a handful of people Bush placed through recess appointments Wednesday.

Sauerbrey, a pro-life former Maryland state lawmaker and gubernatorial candidate, was named to be the assistant secretary of state for population.

Senate abortion advocates held up the nomination of Sauerbrey, who was a former UN women’s representative, because of her position against abortion.

The Senate had planned a committee vote on Sauerbrey in October, but pro-abortion California Democrat Barbara Boxer asked the committee to wait and put a hold on her nomination.

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.

Jeanne Head of the National Right to Life Committee, and one of the top pro-life lobbyists as the United Nations, told applauded the president’s appointment of Sauerbrey.

"She has effectively and compassionately carried out [Bush’s pro-life] policy as Ambassador to the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN," Head explained. "She is well thought of and very much respected in the diplomatic community at the UN and throughout the world."

Last 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.

According to a Baltimore Sun newspaper report, Boxer expressed disappointment when informed that Bush used a recess appointment to install Sauerbrey. Such appointments last one year and Sauerbrey would need a Senate confirmation vote or another recess appointment to retain the position.

Sauerbrey told the Sun she appreciated the support from the president and hoped to begin her no job in the next 10 days.

"My commitment is to demonstrate to all the people that know me — and those that don’t — that I am up to this," Sauerbrey said.

In her new position, Sauerbrey would oversee more than $700 million worth of programs for refugee protection, resettlement and humanitarian assistance.

Bush initially nominated Sauerbrey to lead the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration in September.

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.