Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tom Daschle for DHHS Secretary -- Caution Ahead
The Obama cabinet's first known pick -- for Senator Tom Daschle for Secretary of Health and Human Services. At first glance and from what I've been able to find, the appointment may be mixed for sexual and reproductive rights.
Daschle has a 50% voting record from NARAL. On the other hand, he has a 16% voting record from the Christian Coalition.
He supports Roe, but also voted for bans on late term abortion procedures. He did vote no on the ban on abortions for women in the military, and he does support stem cell research. I couldn't find a clear position on sexuality education, but one hopes that his support for science-based approaches means he'll stand against the ineffective $200 million from his department that supports abstinence-only education.
He opposes marriage for same sex couples, but in 2005, NGTLF honored him for leading the fight against the Federal Marriage Amendment. He has a strong record on HIV/AIDS services.
In other words, for supporters of sexual and reproductive justice, we're not out of the woods yet. I'm guessing we're going to see other "consensus" type appointments in the days ahead. Clearly, in terms of these issues, it won't be quite the battle it has been for the past eight years. But if you were wondering if we could sit back and just enjoy the next four, I think this is a good indication that people of faith and religious leaders who support sexual justice need to continue their prophetic voice. I'll look forward to meeting with him!