New Senate GOP Leader Opposes Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 15, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Senate GOP Leader Opposes Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 15
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Senate Republicans turned to two pro-life lawmakers to lead them in the wake of the mid-term elections, which saw voters give pro-abortion Democrats control of the chamber. The new leaders take over from outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who retired form the Senate to possibly plan a presidential run.

Republicans chose pro-life Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has been the number two Republican in the Senate for the last two years, as their new 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.

He also voted against legislation that would have forced taxpayer to fund embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of human life and may never cure any patients.

"We will be a robust minority, a vigorous minority, and, hopefully, a minority that is only in that condition for a couple of years," McConnell said in a press conference afterwards.

With McConnell moving up, the GOP caucus chose former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to serve as the Minority Whip, the second highest ranking position.

Lott has a long-standing pro-life position on numerous abortion votes, but he upset pro-life advocates when he voted for the embryonic stem cell research funding bill.

He defeated Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who opposes abortion but also backs funding for the grisly research, by just one vote. McConnell was unopposed.

Pro-life advocates also dominate the most of the rest of the Republican leadership team.

Sen. John Kyl of Arizona was named GOP Conference Chairman, John Cornyn of Texas became the GOP conference vice chairman and John Ensign of Nevada will head the Senate GOP’s campaign fundraising committee. All are strong pro-life advocates.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who votes mostly pro-life but does not hold a pro-life view, was named policy committee chairman.

McConnell and Lott’s 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.

Their positions contrast with Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who will become the Majority Leader, and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who will become the Majority Whip.

Both are formerly pro-life, but Reid now frequently votes pro-abortion and Durbin has had a 0 percent pro-life voting record for years from the National Right to Life Committee. Both strongly support embryonic stem cell research funding.

Neither of the two Senate Democrats opposed to abortion, Nebraska’s Ben Nelson or Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey, were elected to leadership posts in the Democratic caucus.

The new party leaders will take over the leadership duties when Congress begins its next session in January.

The Nov. 7 elections gave Democrats control of the Senate by a 51-49 margin.