Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said the majority of Republicans in the Senate would not consider the legal abortions performed by President Clinton's nominee for surgeon general, Dr. Henry W. Foster Jr., to be grounds for rejecting him.
"I think when we come down to the narrow question about whether he's disqualified for having done something which is legal, that a majority of Republican senators will support him," Specter said on CNN's "Newsmaker Saturday."
Foster, who has come under fire because he performed abortions during his 38 years as an obstetrician-gynecologist, must be confirmed by the full Senate.
While Specter stopped short of endorsing Foster, he said that he should be given a fair hearing.
"I think we believe he's entitled to be heard," said Specter, who supports abortion rights.
But asked whether he was prepared to vote for Foster, the senator said: "Oh, absolutely not. I want to hear him testify."
Countering comments by conservative Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, who said Foster should not be confirmed for the sake of "morality," Specter said Foster's whole record should be considered.
"How about the work that he did on teen-age pregnancy? How about the work that he did in giving respectability and self-reliance to so many young people?" he said.