Welcome to part two of our exclusive interview with United States Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), one of America's pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional values leaders. In the first part, we got the senator's thoughts on how to win "red" states, the financial crisis, the Supreme Court and on Republican presidential candidate John McCain. In part two, we ask him about embryonic stem cell research, church leaders speaking out on public policy and politics, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (see new video), his friendship with Senator McCain and the pending new HHS medical provider conscience regulations. We hope you will enjoy part two and the entire interview. We are pleased to have brought it to you. Let us know what you think with your comments.
familyfoundation.org: Senator McCain has supported embryonic stem cell research in the past. Catholic teaching opposes the destruction of embryos, which happens when the stem cells are extracted from them. Has his position on this made you uncomfortable at all in your support of him? Have new developments which make adult stem cells act as embryonic stem cells had an impact on his thinking? Also, since embryonic stem cell research has not yielded one medical breakthrough, while there have been dozens from adult stem cell research — how has all this affected Senator McCain's thinking on the subject, if at all?
Senator Brownback: I think with the new developments in stem cell research, we are reaching the days when embryonic stem cell research is rendered moot, and John McCain has repeatedly pointed out the successes in non-embryonic stem cell research.
familyfoundation.org: Are the Catholic bishops correct in their outspokenness and in taking so bold a stand or should Church leaders of all faiths stay quiet on issues of governance? To what degree should Catholic and Christian voters look to their bishops and pastors for guidance in voting?
Senator Brownback: Church leaders should lead the Church. I leave it to their discretion how they choose to do that.
familyfoundation.org: What did you think of the two presidential candidates' performances at Pastor Rick Warren's "Saddleback Forum"? What impressed and/or concerned you about some of their answers to Rev. Warren's questions?
Senator Brownback: I think John McCain proved, again, that he is the right candidate for values voters. Anyone watching the forum could see that John McCain will lead the country in the right direction.
familyfoundation.org: How far did the selection of Governor Sarah Palin go toward bringing pro-life, pro-family voters back toward Senator McCain?
Senator Brownback:Governor Palin really energized the pro-life and pro-family base of the party. She has brought out huge crowds and has really amped up the excitement level. Governor Palin is a real-life example of values voters' ideals. She has a beautiful child with Down Syndrome, which is something to be celebrated. Eighty to 90 percent of women who find out their unborn baby may have Down Syndrome choose to end the pregnancy. Governor Palin has reminded us all that being pro-life and pro-family is something to be celebrated.
familyfoundation.org: What did you know about her previously and what have you learned about her since that adds to your belief she'll make a great vice president?
Senator Brownback:Governor Palin is known as the most popular governor in America. And she brings critically important and historically relevant executive experience to the ticket. With 75 percent of this year's presidential and vice presidential candidates being male senators, it is remarkably valuable to have on the ticket a woman who has executive experience.
familyfoundation.org: The Department of Health and Human Services is considering new rules on "Provider Conscience" regulations so medical professionals and hospitals who don't believe in abortion and other things contrary to their faith do not have to provide those services. What is the status of those proposals, do you think they will get approved and how will they be an improvement over the current rules? Does Senator McCain support these new proposed rules?
Senator Brownback: For more than thirty years, the letter and the spirit of federal law has required that medical providers not be discriminated against for refusing to perform abortions if they have moral or religious objections to abortion. The HHS regulations under consideration are intended to support this law against such discrimination. Like John McCain, I have defended conscience protection laws in the past. Medical workers should be free to choose to stay true to the Hippocratic Oath to "do no harm."
familyfoundation.org: Senator Brownback, thank you very much for taking your valuable time to provide Virginians with your thoughts on these paramount issues concerning life and traditional values, when so many critical issues face Congress. We look forward to hearing from you again in the future.