The Senate’s confirmation on Tuesday of Andrew Bremberg as U.S. Representative to the UN in Geneva drew praise from a pro-life leader, and condemnation from Planned Parenthood.
On October 22 the Senate voted 50-44 to confirm Bremberg, assistant to the president and senior advisor for domestic policy at the White House, as the U.S. Representative to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. Bremberg was nominated for the position by President Trump on September 28, 2018.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement that Bremberg “will be a strong advocate for the cornerstone of all human rights, the right to life, and will stand up to the international abortion lobby at the United Nations.”
The position is an important diplomatic post, representing the U.S. in front of more than 100 international organizations on issues ranging from refugee resettlement to human rights, arms control, and the environment.
As a key advisor to the White House domestic policy, Bremberg had a role in crafting and implementing the administration’s expansion of the Mexico City Policy.
The Mexico City Policy, originally begun under President Reagan and reinstated by the Trump administration, bans U.S. family planning funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations that promote or perform abortions as a method of family planning.
The administration’s expansion of that policy, Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, applied the same funding prohibitions to $8.8 billion in global health assistance.
Bremberg was also the policy director for the 2016 Republican Party platform, which called for stronger refugee resettlement and immigration restrictions, said pornography was a “public health crisis,” and which was hailed by some pro-life leaders for its proposals to ban late-term, disability, and sex-selective abortions.
50 Republicans voted for Bremberg’s confirmation, and 41 Democrats opposed it. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined Democrats in voting against Bremberg’s confirmation.
The confirmation was also opposed by 38 organizations in a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Chairman James Risch (R-Idaho); the organizations included pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood, Marie Stopes International, the National Abortion Federation, the National Institute for Reproductive Health, and the National Organization for Women.
“Mr. Bremberg’s record and confirmation hearing leave no doubt he will use the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva to strip away reproductive rights and LGBTQI rights around the world,” the letter stated.
At his confirmation hearing June 20 in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bremberg faced tough questions on his views on abortion, LGBT rights, and refugee resettlement policy, among other problems.
Menendez asked Bremberg if he thought rape victims should be able to access abortions where it is legal to do so. “I don’t believe abortion is a moral solution to any problem,” Bremberg responded.
Bremberg told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that he accepted “reproductive rights” as outlined in two international documents—the 1995 Beijing Conference Strategic Objective, and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development—as “important rights.”
However, he added that the language in those international documents does not include promotion of abortion as a method of family planning.
When pressed by Menendez on proposed funding cuts to refugee assistance at a time when more than 70 million people have been displaced from their homes, Bremberg responded that “we need to see other countries step up and do their fair share” in refugee resettlement.
When pressed again by Menendez on his views on access to abortions for survivors of rape, Bremberg said that “I am pro-life, I believe that all human life is sacred, and that human life begins at conception.”
“So when you’re raped, a woman has no rights?” Menendez responded. Bremberg said that “suggestion” was “horrific,” and later clarified that “any suggestion that I do not have care for victims of rape, I find horrendous. I have family members that were raped, Senator.”
“Well—and I am deeply sorry. But—” Menendez responded, before Bremberg interrupted and said he accepted the apology.
“I am not apologizing,” Menendez retorted before telling Bremberg, “You should apologize to the women who are raped, who you say have to live with the rape.”
Planned Parenthood Action tweeted its disapproval of Bremberg’s confirmation on Tuesday, saying that Bremberg “has the power to erode the rights of women, LGBTQ people, & immigrants around the world.”
In his statement to the committee at his confirmation hearing, Bremberg criticized the UN Human Rights Council for not speaking out on certain human rights problemss such as China using its position on the council to pressure members not to attend an event on its treatment of Uyghurs. He stated his intent to work “to protect US sovereignty and the broader world order we have fought so hard to create.”
Bremberg has attended Franciscan University of Steubenville and the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America. He was for a time the top health policy expert at the Mitre Corporation, Politico has reported.
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