by Steven Ertelt
November 13, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to become the first female Speaker of the House when Democrats take over, has backed an anti-abortion Democrat for the party’s number two leadership post. However, the endorsement has more to do with returning a favor than a change on abortion policy.
In a letter made public late Sunday night, Pelosi backed Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha, a longtime ally, for Majority Leader.
Pelosi endorsed Murtha over current Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a pro-abortion Maryland congressman who currently holds the number two position in the party.
"Your presence in the leadership of our party would add a knowledgeable and respected voice to our Democratic team," Pelosi wrote in her letter to Murtha.
Hoyer is said by political observers to be the favorite for the post, but Pelosi backed Murtha because of his vocal stance on Iraq and his support for her position in party leadership, rather than because of his opposition to abortion.
In 2001, Pelosi ran against Hoyer for the Minority Whip position and Murtha managed her campaign to persuade colleagues to support her. He supported her again when she ran for the Democratic leader post in 2002 after Minority Leader Dick Gehpardt stepped down.
After Pelosi moved up to Minority Leader, Hoyer won election as Minority Whip and the two have had a tenuous working relationship ever since.
Should Murtha win the party leadership elections that will be held later this week, it won’t mean that a solidly pro-life congressman has ascended to a leadership position within the Democratic Party.
Murtha has disappointed pro-life advocates with votes on euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.
In March 2005, Murtha voted against allowing Terri Schiavo’s parents to take their lawsuit seeking to stop her euthanasia death to federal courts for a review. He also voted for the bill to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of human life, and voted to overturn President Bush’s veto of that measure.
Murtha said he appreciated Pelosi’s support and backed her agenda for the first 100 hours of Congress, which includes another vote on the embryonic stem cell research funding bill.
Hoyer has a 0 percent pro-life voting record going back to the 1980s, according to the National Right to Life Committee.
Democrats are expected to hold their internal party leadership votes on Thursday.