Voting Record of Health Secretary Nominee Daschle Largely Pro-Abortion
January 6, 2009 - 9:10 PMPresident-elect Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), held an overwhelmingly pro-abortion rights voting record while a U.S. senator, according to voting records as far back as 1994.
In 2003, as well as in 1999, Daschle supported a Senate decision endorsing the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
Daschle also voted for federal funding of abortions on a number of occasions. In 2003, he voted for an amendment that would repeal President Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy” and allow funding for abortions –and abortion counseling -- abroad.
In 1999, he voted to kill an amendment that would prohibit taxpayer dollars to fund abortions covered by federal health insurance plans.
In 1997, Sen. Daschle voted for an amendment that would remove the Hyde Amendment provisions from the bill S.947. The Hyde Amendment prohibited states from using S-CHIP (State Child Health Insurance Program) funds to pay for health plans covering abortions, except in cases where the life of the mother was at stake.
Daschle did vote pro-life at times. The former Senate majority leader voted for H.R.1003 in 1997, a bill restricting the use of federal funds for assisted-suicide purposes.
He also voted three times against partial-birth abortion -- twice for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (H.R. 1122) when it was vetoed by President Clinton during the 105th Congress, and once again in 1999 (for S.1692.)
However, Daschle also voted against a partial-birth abortion ban once in 1995 and again in 1996, when the same bill (H.R.1833) returned to the Senate after being vetoed by President Bill Clinton.
“I, frankly, question why we are debating and voting on this bill so close to the election,” he said, when the bill was being discussed again in September 1996. “Mr. President, I don’t know of anybody in this chamber that condones (this) practice.”
He added: “Is there ever a time when the procedure, regardless of whether it has been accurately described or not, should be used?”
The senator said that he could not allow his wife and daughters to be impaired should the chances occur that foregoing partial-birth abortion would harm them.
“We ought to be reasonable people and able to come together to find some compromise in allowing for a lasting solution outlawing elective procedures -- outlawing this detestable practice whenever it is done for convenience -- but recognizing at the same time that a daughter’s life and a daughter’s health is worth giving her the opportunity to use whatever measure necessary to protect her,” Daschle said.
According to the National Right to Life Committee’s legislative scorecards, Daschle scored 27 percent pro-life during the 108th Congress (2003-04); 0 percent during the 107th Congress; 11 percent during the 106th Congress; and 20 percent during the 105th Congress.
However, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) gave him a rating of just 50 percent as of 2003.
In addition to voting on issues such as partial-birth abortion and funding of abortions, Sen. Daschle supported abortions in U.S. military medical facilities, as well as a bill in 1994 that prohibited peaceful obstruction outside abortion clinics.
The bill, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (or FACE Act), was created to allow persons access to medical clinics and facilities, and the like. Any obstruction such as violent intimidation or peaceful obstruction was considered unlawful. Daschle voted for the bill.