Democrat, Trump nominee have fiery exchange over abortion rights for rape victims

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE's nominee to be the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva sparred with the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday over whether rape victims should be allowed to have abortions.

"Should victims of sexual violence be able to terminate the pregnancy where legal?," the committee's ranking member, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMenendez calls for 'Marie Yovanovitch bill' to protect foreign service employees Senators condemn UN 'blacklisting' of US companies in Israeli settlements Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (D-N.J.), asked nominee Andrew Bremberg, currently the director of the Domestic Policy Council for the White House.


"Senator, I don't believe that abortion is a moral solution to any problem," Bremberg replied.

Menendez then raised a recent Security Council resolution on ending the use of sexual violence in conflicts. U.S. officials reportedly threatened a veto, leading to the removal of language on reproductive health services for victims.

"If in a conflict, a woman gets raped and ultimately as a result of that rape ends up with a child, a pregnancy she did not seek and that was forcibly put on her, you are telling me that it will be your position ... that woman cannot ultimately have access to a legal abortion?" he asked.

"I am pro-life, I believe that all human life is sacred and that human life begins at conception," Bremberg began.

"So when you're raped, a woman has no rights," Menendez interjected.

"I find that suggestion horrific to suggest that a rape victim has no rights," Bremberg responded.

“Well, I find it horrific that a rape victim cannot choose what to do with the consequences of that rape. And that's exactly what you are suggesting is accepted," said Menendez.

Bremberg said he found "any suggestion that I do not care for the victims of rape" "horrendous," adding that he had family members who had been raped.

Later in the exchange, Menendez said Bremberg should apologize "to the women who are raped who you say have to live with the rape. It's pretty outrageous that you at a UN.. organization are going to take that position on behalf of the United States," said Menendez.

The U.S. representative to the U.N. in Geneva is responsible for representing the U.S. on over 20 U.N. agencies, including the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

The Trump administration has expanded measures banning federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or advocate the expansion of abortion access abroad, known as the global gag rule.