by Steven Ertelt
November 14, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Democrats in the Senate held their leadership elections Tuesday and chose abortion advocates to head their party as they take over control of the chamber. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada was elected as the Majority Leader while abortion advocate Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin will serve in the number two post.
"It’s time to move America forward, and this is the team that will do it," Reid said after winning the leadership post. He ran unopposed.
Reid and Durbin have the distinction of having switched their positions on abortion.
As a member of the Senate in the 1970s and 80s, Reid went so far as to call for a human life amendment to the Constitution to protect unborn children, but his voting record is far different now.
Though mainstream media outlets frequently describe Reid as pro-life, 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.
Durbin, who compiled a pro-life voting record in the 1970s, flip-flopped on abortion when he sought leadership positions within the party.
he drew the ire of pro-life groups when he used 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. Durbin has had a 0% pro-life voting record dating back to 1997, according to the pro-life group.
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."
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.
GOP lawmakers are expected to vote soon on their own leadership positions.
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.
In other Democratic leadership contests, Sen. Charles Schumer, a pro-abortion New York lawmaker, will continue to head the party’s Senate campaign committee.
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington will serve as conference secretary while Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan will head the party steering committee. North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan will be the chairman of the Policy Committee and California Sen. Barbara Boxer will be the chief deputy whip. All are abortion and embryonic stem cell research advocates.
Neither Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson or Pennsylvania Sen.-elect Bob Casey, both of whom are considered pro-life, were named to any leadership posts.