March 2nd, 2009
01:19 PM ET
4 years ago

Abortion, not resume, could dominate Sebelius confirmation

Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama listens to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius during a January 2008 rally.
Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama listens to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius during a January 2008 rally.

(CNN) - The congressional showdown over Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' nomination to President Obama's Cabinet may focus less on her qualifications than on the issue of abortion, analysts said.

Obama on Monday nominated Sebelius to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Cabinet nominations require Senate confirmation, and anti-abortion groups already are making their views known.

Analysts suspected that Obama would face a battle over abortion if and when he makes a nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, but religious conservatives could use Sebelius as a warm-up for the seemingly inevitable fight.

Calling Sebelius an "enemy of the unborn," Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the Kansas governor's nomination is particularly disturbing because the health and human services secretary is one of the few members of the administration who can directly affect abortion policy.

"Sebelius' support for abortion is so far off the charts that she has been publicly criticized by the last three archbishops of Kansas City," Donohue said in a statement.

"My Catholic faith teaches me that all life is sacred, and personally I believe abortion is wrong," she said then. "However, I disagree with the suggestion that criminalizing women and their doctors is an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the number of abortions in our nation."

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Filed under: Abortion • Health care • Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Survivor

    again the far out right trashes "democracy" confusing it with "theocracy"!!

    It is their choice no one is force feeding anybody – so shut up.

    Sebelius is correct in her belief – if you want complete control over peoples minds and bodies go perhaps to Iran or somewhere similar – get out of our politics!

    March 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. cmc

    As if the ..needs more of the same argument that has been going on for yrs... Why is that they have more concerns about abortion, than taking care of the mess we are in now. This argument will never be solved, so lets get on with the business at hand. It is time to end this agrument, everyone has their views. The American people just amaze me, how about trying to help the people who are just trying to survive, instead of rehashing the same argument that has been going on for yrs and yrs and yrs..

    March 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. DawnS

    American politics – all abortion, all the time.

    March 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. kd

    More 'off-the-charts' wacko talk from the far-right religious crowd. Can anybody take them seriously?

    Sebelious will be crucified (no pun intended) by this crowd, all of whom will refuse to study any of her work or her stances but will rather follow the foaming, ignorant rhetoric of their 'leaders.'

    and, once again, ignorance may win out.

    March 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Mary C.

    - In May, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, said that Sebelius' stance on abortion had "grave spiritual and moral consequences." He asked that Sebelius no longer receive Communion until she repudiated her stance and made a "worthy sacramental confession."

    Is this scary or what? The church is willing to apply such pressure on one of our elected officials in order to influence the law. She never supported abortion only to protect the life of the women. Why does the church insist on putting a higher value on the child's life versus the woman's life? I guess Mr. Donohue would let his wife or daughter die. How nice of him.

    March 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Ray Fisher

    Abortion has been the issue which sinks EVERY health care reform effort since it polarizes everyone hence no progress can be made. People must one day face facts that there are many sides to every issue and no side is100% correct. Compromise is America's greatest tool so it doesn't matter how she stands on any issue it only matters how the compromise is worded!!! Pro-Life or Pro-Abortion makes no difference since it is an opinion not fact!!!

    March 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Fredi

    Sebelius quote: "My Catholic faith teaches me that all life is sacred, and personally I believe abortion is wrong," she said then. "However, I disagree with the suggestion that criminalizing women and their doctors is an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the number of abortions in our nation."
    Amen – sister. This statement alone proves to me that she is the right person for tha job.
    Most self-righteous religious hypocrites are more interested in appearing tough and holy than in actually helping women to avoid that choice by showing them viable alternatives. Being a Christian means above all to show all those who consider an abortion the Love of Christ – it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance (i.e. change of behavior) – not Bible thumping self-righteousness and judgement.

    March 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Kim

    The real "enemies of the unborn" are those who do not support womens and children's health care, school lunches, affordable access to contraception, childhood immunizations, and other things in a list too long to name here. If you support "life", then support life after birth, not just before.

    March 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Annie, Atlanta

    Here's a compromise. I'll agree to give up abortion rights if folks on the other side of the aisle will give up the right to bear arms. OK? No? All right, settled. Let's leave them both as is, then.

    March 2, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Oh Boy!!!???

    If there were muslim voters that opposed, would it matter? How about Jewish? Hindu?

    If you say no to any of these, than you do not understand the separation of church and state.

    March 2, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Edward

    "My Catholic faith teaches me that all life is sacred, and personally I believe abortion is wrong," she said then. "However, I disagree with the suggestion that criminalizing women and their doctors is an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the number of abortions in our nation."

    Well the truth is that it is an effective means. If a doctor can be charged with murder then they will not do abortions and thus the number of abortions will decrease. Maybe then people will think twice before having unprotected sex or not using contraceptives while knowing full well that they aren't ready for children, it's irresponsible.

    March 2, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. red

    leave her alone....she is a grat choice.......... way better that sarah salin!!!!!

    March 2, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. cmc

    Oh that's right, here we go again. Lets try taking care of the people on the street first. This argument will never be solved admit it. JUst once I wish people would get off the band wagon and start solving the problems at hand. How many babies born and unborn die because of lack of health care etc.lest we forget that fact.

    March 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. BK

    "Sebelius' support for abortion is so far off the charts that she has been publicly criticized by the last three archbishops of Kansas City"

    Being criticized by a hate group makes you 'off the charts'?

    March 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. John, Brooklyn, New York

    The Obama administration should not flinch on this issue. Mr. Obama was elected while taking an unequivocal pro-choice position – and he won. His appointment of a pro-choice HHS secretary is simply consistent with his positions on the issue...and the will of the American public.

    March 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Dylan from MN

    I'm sick of all these religious leaders who base their morals off dogma instead of common sense thinking. No one looks forward to having an abortion but is some cases, having one will reduce suffering in peoples lives including the unborn. Here's a relgious leader who uses common sense:

    "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance."
    -His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

    March 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. rr

    Analysts suspected that Obama would face a battle over abortion if and when he makes a nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, but religious conservatives could use Sebelius as a warm-up for the seemingly inevitable fight.

    give us a break AMERICA is not only for religious conservatives only. everyone in america has the right to do whatever they think is good for themselve i wonder who made the so called Religious conservatives judges to want thats do. Obama does not need warm up for anything he doesn't look to me like somebody who is afraid of challanges.

    March 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    I hope Ms Kathleen Sebelius' confrimed sheis not the so call "enemy of the unborn," A WOMAN SHOULD RIGHT TO CHOSE!!!!!!! That between the woman and her god not some other person telling the woman what to do.

    March 2, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. PA Dem

    Here we go with the party of "no" again. They have become so one-dimensional.

    March 2, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Once you vote Black

    If you don't like abortion don't have one!

    March 2, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. eric the blue

    She will not make any laws regarding abortion. She will only carry out the laws on the books. That is all she needs to say and "case closed"

    March 2, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Jackie in Dallas

    I admire a woman of conviction. Gov. Sebelius is actually thinking, something that some people appear incapable of doing. Because her faith says one thing, but the majority of people are not of her faith or her beliefs, she is willing to be intelligent in how she approaches the problem of abortion.

    Without being Catholic, if you took her statement and removed the first phrase, you would have my personal view, as well. I don't like abortion, but it is not my place to make that decision for other women, in particular those who are pregnant due to rape or incest. I find it difficult to understand those who are so wrapped up in the rights for the unborn that they neglect to consider the rights of those who are already born. If evey person who has decided that those women must be forced to have children stepped up to the plate and took in those born, then I'd complain less, but they don't. They are also the most vocal against birth control, sex education, and funding safe houses for the sexually abused. So, from the safety of their nice homes in nice safe neighborhoods, they decide that they can be judge and jury for other women who do not have that security. Shame on them.

    March 2, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Free Thinker

    a Godless nominee from a Godless president. We get what we deserve!

    March 2, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. LIFE IS SACRED..BUT

    It is a woman's choice. Choices have consequenses......i am sorry to say but government can't control a person's mind against having an abortion just as no one can control someone's mind against lying It is a moral choice and it is sad that women who choose to have unprotected sex, end up pregnant and then Killing the baby.I feel government should focus more on encouraging adoptions and sex education and i belive this secretary will do a great job as HHS considering the fact that the rate of abortion in the state of Kansas declined ever since she became Gov.

    March 2, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Mississippi Mike

    Here's the thing, Obama is so enthusiastic about abortion, unionization and redistributing wealth that he is sprinting away from the majority opinion of America. He was elected on a platform of change, and he feels like he needs to make changes. Had he shared all of his plans last Fall, he'd be sitting in the senate right now, not in the White House. Everything he has done so far was predicted by Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter. Let's hope he does not fulfill the remainder of their predictions.

    March 2, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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