Pro-Life Group Laments Feckless Questioning of Pro-Abortion HHS Pick Daschle
by Steven Ertelt
January 12, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Members of the Senate HELP Committee last week had the opportunity to question pro-abortion former Sen. Tom Daschle, Barack Obama’s pick for health secretary. Daschle could advance Obama’s pro-abortion agenda but Senate Republicans failed to press him on the issue one pro-life group says.
Daschle returned to his old Senate stomping grounds for his first of two confirmation hearings and several lawmakers who might have otherwise been critical heaped lavish praise on the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Daschle’s long-standing pro-abortion record is clear and pro-life advocates have been concerned that he could advance abortion, paid for at taxpayer-expense, in a government-run health care plan.
There is also worry that Daschle will move quickly to roll back the pro-life protections President Bush put in place for medical centers and personnel who don’t want to participate in abortions. During the hearing, Daschle attacked those protections.
Despite these worries, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, says Senate Republicans missed their chance to make Daschle answer tough questions about what he and Obama will do regarding abortion.
"This hearing would have been a prime opportunity to ask Daschle whether he supports using taxpayer money to fund abortions for the first time in over three decades," Perkins told LifeNews.com.
"Two years ago, Barack Obama said that ‘reproductive health care’ (read: abortion) is an essential medical service," Perkins added. "He went so far as to say that private and public insurers must pay for abortions or face consequences. Does Daschle agree?"
Perkins continued: "If Obama forces health care plans to include abortion, would Daschle insist on laws that protect the rights of parents? Would he agree that the federal government should protect health care providers who don’t want to be associated with abortion?"
For Perkins, these hearings on Obama’s top governmental appointees are not "simple formalities" and he believes pro-life Republicans in the Senate need to exercise their right to ask these kinds of tough questions of Obama’s selections to head his administration.
"The fault, in large part, rests with Senate Republicans who failed to ask Daschle some significant questions," he said. "As one of the few groups to encourage members to ask tough questions, FRC was disappointed to see the lack of real scrutiny."
Perkins told LifeNews.com he hopes the feckless questions were an aberration and part of the respect frequently accorded to former members of the Senate and not an indication of things to come.
"Similar hearings will be held on President Obama’s judicial nominees," Perkins warned. "Will Republicans work to expose the left-leaning agenda of these nominees or will they simply play along to get along?"
The Senate Finance Committee will hold a second hearing on Daschle’s nomination and the full Senate will vote on it after the committee votes.
Daschle has a long pro-abortion voting record as a member of Congress.
In March 2003, Daschle voted for a Senate resolution endorsing Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy and ushered in an era of nearly 50 million abortions.
While Daschle voted for the national partial-birth abortion ban that the Supreme Court eventually upheld, he cast two votes on pro-abortion measures that would have weakened it to the point of being ineffective.
Daschle also supported making taxpayers fund abortions in a variety of circumstances, including funding groups that promote and perform abortions overseas and the performance of abortions at military base hospitals.
He also voted for an alternative to the Unborn Victims Bill, the measure that provides protection and justice for women and children like Laci and Conner Peterson who are victims of violence, that would have been far weaker.
The measure Daschle backed would deny that the baby had suffered any injuries or death in such an attack.
Daschle’s record was so poor that the National Right to Life Committee gave him only a 27 percent pro-life voting record from 2003-2004, a 0 percent record in 2001-2002, an 11 percent record in 1999-2000, and a 20 percent record from 1997-1998.
ACTION: See a list of the members of the Senate Finance Committee at https://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/committee.htm and contact them to urge strong opposition to Daschle’s nomination.
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