by Steven Ertelt
November 9, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — With Democrats capturing control of the Senate following Tuesday’s elections and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist not running for elections, the upper chamber of Congress will see a leadership change. However the new leaders will have different views on abortion and embryonic stem cell research.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is expected to retain his position as the head of the Democratic caucus and will likely become the new majority leader.
Though mainstream media outlets frequently describe Reid as pro-life (MSNBC wrote Thursday that "Reid opposes abortion"), he no longer takes a consistent pro-life view and has cast votes and taken actions that have upset pro-life advocates.
In the last session of Congress alone, Reid voted to force taxpayers to pay for the performance and promotion of abortions in other nations and he also backed a measure mandating that the federal government fund new embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.
But Reid also drew the ire of pro-life groups when he had Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two Senate Democrat, use a procedural motion to block a bill that would have prevented taking teens to other states for secret abortions that violate the parental involvement laws of their home states.
During the previous session of Congress, Reid accumulated only a 55 percent pro-life voting record from the National Right to Life Committee.
Douglas Johnson, the group’s legislative director, previously told LifeNews.com that his group doesn’t consider Reid pro-life.
"Although casting some pro-life votes, Senator Reid is no ally of the pro-life movement," Johnson said. "He has often attempted to gut or block pro-life legislation."
Meanwhile, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has been the number two Republican in the Senate for the last two years, is expected to ascend to the leadership post and become the minority leader.
McConnell has a 100% pro-life voting record dating back to at least 1999 and won praise from pro-life groups when he became the point man opposing the campaign finance legislation that restricted the free speech rights of pro-life groups during election time.
His leadership will be needed to hold the Republican caucus together to promote any potential Supreme Court selection President Bush may make in the next two years and to prevent the passage of pro-abortion legislation or bills advancing embryonic stem cell research funding.
With McConnell expected to become the GOP leader in the Senate, the party caucus will need to choose a lawmaker to take his place in the number two spot.