More Pro-Life Groups Lobby Against Fred Upton in House

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 30, 2010   |   2:56PM   |   Washington, DC

Two more pro-life organizations are lobbying House Republicans to not select Michigan Rep. Fred Upton to become the chairman of the influential Energy and Commerce Committee.

The panel will have oversight on any effort to repeal or amend the ObamaCare health care reform law that fails to contain a bill-wide provision ensuring taxpayers are not required to fund abortions.

The National Right to Life Committee and the Susan B. Anthony List have already contacted Republican lawmakers letting them know they don’t want Upton to chair the committee because of his weak pro-life voting record, and Americans United for Life, according to Politico, has joined them with a letter of its own.

Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of AUL, tells Republicans Upton has “voted against such commonsense policies as parents being notified if their minor child seeks an abortion at a federally-funded facility, voted in favor of obstructing the partial-birth abortion ban, and voted to allow the federal funding of embryo-destructive research.”

“For Representative Upton to claim that he is pro-life after amassing a record that is starkly contrary creates a serious credibility gap,” the letter says. “Representative Upton’s record on life issues demonstrates that he is not the right person to lead the Energy and Commerce Committee and to represent the pro-life leadership of the House.”

The Republicans on the Steering Committee will decide whether Upton will become the chairman of the committee or if Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, Texas Rep. Joe Barton or Illinois Rep. John Shimkus will head up the panel. All three are pro-life lawmakers who have stronger records opposing abortion than Upton. Barton and Shimkus are seen by many political observers as long-shots to head the panel.

The Republican National Coalition for Life has also weighed in with its own concerns about Upton and his voting record on abortion.

“The U.S. House committee which serves as a gateway for virtually all legislation of interest to the pro-life community may soon be headed by a Republican congressman who has a “mixed” record of voting on pro-life issues,” RNC for Life said in an email obtained today. “This is very concerning to many pro-life groups. Most importantly for the pro-life cause, this powerful committee is the gateway for virtually every pro-life legislative protection.”

The group says Upton “has a very mixed voting record on Life issues.”

“He has voted to spend our tax dollars on embryonic stem cell research, research using tissue obtained from abortions and Planned Parenthood,” RNC for Life explained. “He voted against amendments that would have prevented the FDA from approving the abortion pill RU-486, and he voted for an amendment that would not recognize unborn children as victims in crimes against pregnant women, thus undermining the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.”

RNC for Life says that if Upton becomes the chairman of the panel, “sub-committee chairs for Health Care and Oversight and Investigations MUST be pro-life,” and suggests Reps. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania and Michael Burgess of Texas as good choices.

The Republican Steering Committee, which names Committee chairs, will meet this week. Committee Chairs then appoint their subcommittee chairs.