By Kevin J. Jones
Former US Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is President Joe Biden’s candidate for US ambassador to the Holy See, the White House said on Friday.
Donnelly is a Catholic and a former professor at the University of Notre Dame, where he obtained his undergraduate degree and his law degree. He served in the U.S. Senate from 2013 to 2019, stepping down after losing the 2018 election to Republican challenger Mike Braun. He represented the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana from 2007 to 2013, during which time he voted against funding embryonic stem cell research and was a strong opponent for abortion funding. in the Affordable Care Act 2010.
In the Senate, he reversed his stance against federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which offers abortions.
Donnelly is currently a partner at Akin Gump law firm in Washington, DC He is chairman of the board of the New York-based Soufan Center, a nonprofit think tank whose work on global security and politics foreign policy focuses on extremism and armed conflict.
He is an advisor to several companies. The White House noted that his honors include the US Navy Distinguished Service Medal.
The president of the University of Notre Dame, Reverend John I. Jenkins, CSC, congratulated Donnelly on Friday, calling him the “ideal choice” for the job.
“He will bring to this role a deep understanding of the issues facing our nation and the world today, a true Catholic faith, and an understanding of the role the Church can play in our world,” Jenkins said.
In Congress, Donnelly was known as a pro-work, pro-life moderate Democrat, who changed his stance on marriage in 2013.
He has supported some pro-life policies over the years, including restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks and a ban on taxpayer-funded abortion; he was also criticized by some pro-life groups for ultimately voting against funding for Planned Parenthood in the Senate.
Donnelly was one of dozens of Democrats to oppose funding for abortion in the Affordable Care Act as it was considered in Congress in 2009. He was one of the last Democratic refractories in the House to dropped their opposition and voted for the bill when it was finally passed in 2010., as President Obama promised the bill would not fund abortion. The U.S. Bishops’ Conference remained opposed to the law, in large part due to concerns about its funding for abortion coverage.
Pro-life groups were split over Donnelly when he was re-elected in 2018 as a senator. America’s Lifetime Democrats backed his re-election, but Susan B. Anthony List opposed his candidacy, saying he “claims to be pro-life, but has a history of betrayal in important votes. pro-life ”. His vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court emerged as an issue during his re-election, as did the abortion issue that his opponent Mike Braun repeatedly raised during a debate in 2018.
Donnelly in 2013 announced his support for redefining marriage, saying it was “the right thing to do,” as Politico reported.