January 26, 2001
volume 12, no. 25
Senate OKs Thompson as HHS Secretary

    WASHINGTON, DC -- (AP Story from ProLifeInfonet) The Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed pro-life Gov.Tommy Thompson (R-WI) to lead the Department of Health and Human Services even though Thompson has agreed to review the hasty approval of the dangerous Ru 486 abortion drug.

    ``The qualities that have made Governor Thompson so successful in Wisconsin are also what makes him an ideal choice to lead this important department,'' said pro-life Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). ``He will bring a wealth of knowledge ... and an innovative style to the national debate on welfare reform.''

    His nomination got support from Democrats, who said they think he'll do well even if they oppose some of his views on abortion.

    One question Thompson will have a say in as secretary is whether federal money can be used for stem cell research, which shows promise in the treatment of catastrophic diseases such as Alzheimer's. Because major stem cell research is done on unborn children, the research upsets pro-life advocates who know that pro-life alternatives are available. President Bush, who opposes abortion, also opposes federally funded stem cell research.

    Thompson has not taken a position on the issue, but he praised University of Wisconsin researcher James Thomson as a ``bold pioneer'' for ``groundbreaking developments'' in stem cell research. However, he did not make any statement in support of research using unborn children.

    In Milwaukee, Wisconsin Right to Life executive director Barbara Lyons said she expects that Thompson's ``position will be very positive on this issue,'' and he also will uphold Bush's views against abortion.

    A Milwaukee spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, Lisa Boyce, said Thompson's views are uncertain. ``It's really difficult to see what he's going to bring to this position because he's not a spokesperson on reproduction rights in either capacity,'' Boyce said.

    But Thompson, while also being a staunch abortion foe, fared well among Democrats.

    ``He's more than up to the task,'' said Sen. Max Baucus, a pro-abortion Montana Democrat. ``I don't mean to imply that I expect to agree with every position of our about-to-be secretary. There clearly are some issues on which we disagree, say a woman's right to choose. That said, I think Mr. Thompson is the right person for a very tough job.''

January 26, 2001
volume 12, no. 26

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