Pro-Life Voting Index -- US Senate

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

Life Advocacy's Senate voting record index for 1999, the first session of the 106th Congress.

The Senate spent little time on Life-related issues this year. May through July saw brief skirmishes over abortions in military facilities and abortion coverage in federal workers' health insurance, and abortion dominated the debate for two days in October. But most of the Senate's activity in the Life arena occurred in the anonymous setting of joint House-Senate conferences, where abortion advocate Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and switch-hitter Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) were often positioned to sabotage initiatives and reforms advocated by the House majority. (Sen. Specter also used the "conference" process to secure $25 million for the United Nations Population Fund despite UNFPA involvement in oppressive Red China and in genocide of Kosovar refugees via contraception, abortion and sterilization.)

One of the most stunning moments of the year came when Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) told reporters the White House would have to yield to pro-life demands excluding foreign abortion advocates from lobbying to undermine pro-life laws overseas in order to achieve one of the Clinton/Gore team's top foreign policy objectives -- payment of alleged US arrearages to the United Nations. The reason we call it a stunning moment: It was so uncharacteristic for the Senate Leader to speak up for a House pro-life initiative. (In the end, House pro-lifers led by Rep. Chris Smith [R-NJ] did win that fight, and Sen. Lott's statement surely helped.)

THE MOST IMPORTANT SENATE BREAKTHROUGH of the year came with Sen. Bob Smith's heroic soliloquy exposing the horrific trafficking in baby body parts uncovered and documented by Texas-based Life Dynamics.

The New Hampshire Republican not only forced reluctant abortion advocates in the Senate to hear about the depths to which their allies have sunken -- and exposed the grim reality to the C-SPAN-viewing public -- but he also forced the Senate to vote on the issue by offering an amendment to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

That was one vote the Senate was loath to take, but Sen. Smith stood up to pressure from colleagues and outside interest groups and persisted in taking his amendment past hours of speaking on the matter to a roll call, putting the Senate on record.

The Smith amendment was substantively minor, merely requiring disclosure of those involved in transferring parts in order to police the current ban on profiteering. (He could not write an outright ban, since the practice is already illegal!) But the amendment had symbolic value, and the Senate, to its shame, came up short. For a new issue, though, Sen. Smith did well in garnering 48 votes. It is our hope that pro-life organizations and voters will focus on the Smith roll call and hold their Senators accountable; this is an issue which must be pressed in the 2000 session, and it is one that seriously undermines the abortion industry's illegitimate hold on the high ground.

THE PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BAN ACT started in the Senate this year, and 63 Senators voted to enact it, with three Senators missing in action. Given that two of those three have voted for the ban in past sessions, the 63 "yes" votes can be extrapolated to 65, representing a gain of one over the 105th Congress. Media -- even much pro-life media -- response has focused on the continued, disappointing shortfall from the 67 votes needed to override a prospective Presidential veto.

We prefer to see the glass as half full. A two-vote shortfall looks to us like an opportunity. Should the pro-life community manage to agree on a handful of "targets" for focused grassroots lobbying efforts, those two votes should be attainable for such a compelling advance on behalf of justice and mercy. How long can a man like Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE), for example, hold to a pro-abortion view on this issue, against a serious bombardment of public opinion? (Sen. Kerrey stated in the Senate debate that his mind is opening on the need to outlaw partial-birth abortion, yet he stuck with his negative vote so far. How long can the abortion lobby hold such a man in thrall if a concerted effort is made to inform his conscience?)

THE ABORTION LOBBY PULLED OFF A COUP in October which captured significant attention in the news media and overshadowed the passage of the partial-birth abortion ban.

Perhaps to divert attention from Sen. Smith's exposure of baby body parts trafficking, Sen. Thomas Harkin (D-IA) filed an amendment to attach an endorsement of Roe v. Wade to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. With virtually all the subsequent debate focused on the underlying bill rather than on the indefensibility of the 1973 Supreme Court edict, the amendment carried, resulting in a corrupted bill for which pro-lifers were expected to vote just hours later.

The roll call demonstrates -- better than votes initiated by the pro-life community in recent years -- the domination of the death culture in the US Senate.

OUR OVERVIEW OF THE 1999 SENATE SESSION would not be complete without noting what didn't happen. The Senate did not take up major pro-life House-passed measures, which we hope will occupy a higher place in the Senate's 2000 session agenda.

Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-MI) is expected to press for his Child Custody Protection Act, which has already passed the House and would make it a federal crime for an adult to evade a state's parental notification law by taking a minor to another state for a secret abortion.

Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) will have the task of shepherding the Pain Relief Promotion Act, a House-passed measure to block euthanasia laws like the one voters approved in Oregon and, at the same time, to give physicians more certainty that they would not be penalized for good-faith efforts to relieve pain in seriously ill patients.

A third major pro-life initiative, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, is now in the Senate's hands after House passage during 1999.

On human cloning, the latterday Frankensteins in the "scientific" community are continuing their experiments undeterred by the US Senate, beyond Sen. Christopher Bond's introduction of cloning ban legislation. The Missouri Republican's proposal has not moved through committee since its first introduction three years ago.

The Clinton/Gore Administration's scheme to fund experimentation on embryonic human babies was abetted by a Congressional stalemate generated by Sen. Specter's determination to block any House efforts to challenge the ghoulish development. The Pennsylvania maverick opened the 1999 session with a call for hearings on embryonic stemcell experimentation, even as European research showed promise in therapeutic use of stemcells derived from consenting adults. Though he did not press his threat to seek repeal of the federal fetal tissue experimentation ban, Sen. Specter's constant demand for the unethical exploration gave the Administration cover simply to ignore the law.

A FINAL COMMENT ON THE SENATE SESSION, before we present the voting index itself: Though we did not publish any judicial confirmation roll calls because there were multiple issues involved in the most controversial ones, the Senate's near automatic confirmation of radical federal judges, including known abortion advocates, has not escaped our attention, and we urge pro-life groups and citizens to take a greater role in asking the Senate to reject those who are unfit for lifelong appointments to life-and-death posts.

SENATE VOTING RECORD INDEX / First Session / 106th Congress (1999) Key to Index of Recorded Votes

The United States Senate took seven recorded votes on Life-related issues during 1999. We set forth on the following page a chart presenting the Life-related votes of each Senator.

Symbols used in the voting index chart are:

+ = Vote favoring Life

-- = Vote opposing Life

0 = Not voting

A = On tabling the Murray amendment, which would have allowed private-fee abortions in military facilities ... May 26, 1999 ... Voting "yes" (pro-life) 51 / Voting "no" (pro-abortion) 49 B = On preventing a vote on the DeWine amendment to exclude abortion coverage from Federal Employee Health Benefits ... June/July, 1999 ... Voting "no" (pro-life) 51 / Voting "yes" (pro-abortion) 47 / Not voting 2 ("DeWine" was subsequently adopted without a recorded roll call)

C = On preventing a vote on the Durbin amendment to gut the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban ... October 20, 1999 ... Voting "yes" (pro-life) 61 / Voting "no" (pro-abortion) 38 / Not voting 1 Some of the Senators who won a "plus" with this vote are believed to have voted for the motion for the wrong reason (to avoid the appearance of supporting even a gutted version of the Ban). Votes on this motion should not be read independently of those on other partial-birth abortion motions. Of course, some others voted wrong on this motion and right on the bill's final passage, hoping voters would note only the second vote while, with the vote on "Durbin," helping the abortion industry undermine the bill.

D = Final passage, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act ... October 21, 1998 ... Voting "yes" (pro-life) 63 / Voting "no" (pro-abortion) 34 / Not Voting 3

E = (Bob) Smith amendment to require disclosure of institutions involved in transfer of fetal tissue for experimentation in order to police baby body parts trafficking ... October 21, 1999 ... Voting "yes" (pro-life) 46 / Voting "no" (pro-abortion) 51 / Not Voting 3

F = Preventing a vote on the Harkin amendment (see "G" below) ... October 21, 1999 ... Voting "yes" (pro-life) 48 / Voting "no" (pro-abortion) 51 / Not Voting 1

G = Harkin amendment to add endorsement of Roe v. Wade to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban ... October 21, 1999 ... Voting "no" (pro-life) 47 / Voting "yes" (pro-abortion) 51 / Not Voting 2







































































































SENATOR/STATE

A

B

C

D

E

F

G


Total

Abraham/MI

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Akaka/HI

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Allard/CO

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Ashcroft/MO

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Baucus/MT

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Bayh/IN

--

--

--

+

--

--

--


1/7

Bennett/UT

++

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Biden/DE

--

+

--

+

--

--

--


2/7

Bingaman/NM --

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Bond/MO

++

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Boxer/CA

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Breaux/LA

--

+

--

+

+

+

+


5/7

Brownback/KS

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Bryan/NV

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Bunning

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Burns/MT

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Byrd/WV

--

--

--

+

--

--

--


1/7

Campbell/CO +

--

+

+

+

--

--

+


4/7

Chafee/RI

--

--

+

0

0

--

--


1/5

Cleland/GA

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Cochran/MS

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Collins/ME

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Conrad/ND

--

+

+

+

--

--

--


3/7

Coverdell/GA

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Craig/ID

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Crapo/ID

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Daschle/SD

--

--

--

+

--

--

--


1/7

DeWine/OH

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Dodd/CT

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Domenici/NM +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Dorgan/ND

--

+

+

+

--

--

--


3/7

Durbin/IL

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Edwards/NC

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Enzi/WY

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Feingold/WI

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Feinstein/CA

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Fitzgerald/IL

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Frist/TN

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Gorton/WA

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Graham/FL

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Gramm/TX

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Grams/MN

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Grassley/IA

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Gregg/NH

+

+

+

0

0

+

0


4/4

Hagel/NE

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Harkin/IA

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Hatch/UT

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Helms/NC

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Hollings/SC

--

--

+

+

--

--

--


2/7

Hutchinson/AR

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Hutchison/TX

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Inhofe/OK

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Inouye/HI

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Jeffords/VT

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Johnson/SD

--

--

--

+

--

--

--


1/7

Kennedy/MA

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Kerrey/NE

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Kerry/MA

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Kohl/WI

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Kyl/AZ

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Landrieu/LA

--

--

--

+

--

--

--


1/7

Lautenberg/NJ

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Leahy/VT

--

--

--

+

--

--

--


1/7

Levin/MI

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Lieberman/CT

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Lincoln/AR

--

--

--

+

--

--

--


1/7

Lott/MS

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Lugar/IN

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Mack/FL

+

+

+

0

0

+

+


5/5

McCain/AZ

+

0

0

+

+

0

0


3/3

McConnell/KY

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Mikulski/MD --

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Moynihan/NY --

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Murkowski/AK

+

0

+

+

+

+

+


6/6

Murray/WA

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Nickles/OK

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Reed/RI

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Reid/NV

--

+

--

+

--

+

+


4/7

Robb/VA

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Roberts/KS

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Rockefeller/WV

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Roth/DE

+

+

+

+

--

+

+


6/7

Santorum/PA +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Sarbanes/MD --

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Schumer/NY

--

--

+

--

--

--

--


1/7

Sessions/AL +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Shelby/AL

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Smith/NH

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Smith/OR

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Snowe/ME

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Specter/PA

+

--

--

+

--

--

--


2/7

Stevens/AK

+

--

+

+

--

--

--


3/7

Thomas/WY

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Thompson/TN +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Thurmond/SC +

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Torricelli/NJ

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Voinovich

+

+

+

+

+

+

+


7/7

Warner/VA

+

+

+

+

--

--

--


4/7

Wellstone/MN

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7

Wyden/OR

--

--

--

--

--

--

--


0/7