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. Charles h.

    What ever happened to the concept of Seperation of Church and State?

    March 2, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. RYN

    By focusing on abortion during a serious recession Republicans are ensuring another defeat in 2010.

    March 2, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. JLS

    Imagine no religion.... mmm. Puts a smile on my face...

    March 2, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. timber

    Gee, this would not be payback for stabbing Hillary in the back during the primaries would it??!

    March 2, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. mh

    a godless nominee from a godless president. we get what we deserve.

    March 2, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. yen

    If underage it is between her parents and God. For a woman it is between her and her God. Who is mr. so and so to say anything. Stop!!!!

    March 2, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. april

    How many czars do you think President Lincoln had?

    March 2, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Han

    This is a democracy not a theocracy. This is America not Iran. We don't need archbishops telling us how to run the country.

    March 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Angie in Pa

    No More Far right Religious nuts Needed Been there done that ENOUGH!

    March 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Rick

    Any Catholic that votes for democrats votes against their own religion.

    March 2, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Ben

    John – Get a clue and read your Bible. Perhaps you've heard of "Thou shalt not kill"?

    March 2, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Nathan 26

    Why is the Catholic Church's opinion more important than any other church? Most people are for abortions rights.....another Republican tactic with no substance.

    March 2, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. albo58

    Don't let her pro-choice stance distract from her record of failure as governor of Kansas! Why does politics in our country demote up?

    March 2, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Allison

    We have let Church and State collide. And look at the mess we are in today. We are finding out quickly just what was important and what is not.

    March 2, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Al, KS

    This is really a stretch, CNN. The Republicans will be sooooo happy to get her out of the 2010 senate race, they will be falling all over themselves to get her confirmed. This is a no brainer. Yeah, some loonies on the right will bring up the abortion issue (don't they always?), but it will not be an obstacle for her confirmation.

    March 2, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. texas teacher

    @John

    Someday you will believe.

    @JFK

    You don't think killing babies is an important issue? How sad when the sanctity of life is just reduced to a political issue with no moral attachment. I feel sorry for those who still don't see the light. Some day you will. Everyone will.

    March 2, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Wynter

    um... I beleive that this "litmus" test has been tried and failed in the past. You cannot hold up someone's appointment based on their position on abortion. They can whine and complain about someone's position on the issue, but you cannot do much more than that because it's not illegal. Voting them down on that point would be extrememely irresponsible and open them up for one helluva backlash.

    March 2, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Tommy

    Dobson and others of his ilk are nothing more than Terrorists! Y'know people, terrorism is currently being perpetrated on our soil by our fellow countrymen. They are called right-wing republicans, and they are just as bad as The Taliban and Al Queda. Aim high America!

    March 2, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. FreeNLovIt

    To Yen...

    I watched a video and in South America, a nurse practiced illegal abortions. The woman she helped died and they found out about her and jailed her. Later, somehow, she found God and God told her that abortion was wrong. She never performed another abortion again. Once that h eart starts beating, I think it has a Spirit adn God watches over it.

    March 2, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Bankrupt

    You mean to say Obama's HHS Secy will follow Obama's position on choice? This is shocking news. If people wanted the government to decide a woman's personal decisions they would have elected GOP leader Rush Limbaugh.

    March 2, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. FreeNLovIt

    We need to focus on prevention not abortion. Abortion makes us all murderers. Lelt's take a look at the nursing homes. These people have heartbeats but they are not capable of helping themselves. Why dont we just kill them? You know why? They have heartbeats. They're alive. A baby is unseen and is in teh mother's womb, but it is ALIVE. That's the problem!!!

    March 2, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Casey | Sebastopol, CA

    Abortion is a choice. If you don't like it, don't make it.

    But until this government also outlaws war — don't come crying around about killing the unborn. I'm more worried about keeping the currently born alive… and, I might add… well.

    March 2, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. Matt - MN Obama Supporter

    This to me is really sad because I lived in Kansas for 2 years and was very much impressed with Gov. Sebelius and the way she ran the state. In fact my wife and I were in the adoption process there at one point (we put it on hold b/c she is now pregnant) and they had some of the most impressive adoption laws there. It was friendly both to the mother giving up her child for adoption and those wishing to adopt. And her policies have helped to greatly reduce abortions in Kansas. I know she is against it personally but understands the law and the constitution and did the right thing vetoing those bills.

    She is a bright Lady and I think that she will get broad support in the senate. She has already garnered praise from Sam Brownback & Pat Roberts who are staunch conservatives and they will get votes of moderates like Snow, Collins, Specter, and Lugar. My guess is others will vote to confirm her as well. People need to realize that moderate democrats like Sebelius (and Bill Clinton) have done more to reduce abortions than any Republican.

    March 2, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. KU fan in KS

    Sebelius is my gov. and she has been a good one, liked my most Kansans. I am so SICK of the pro fetus fringe. The seem to care nothing for health care for children. I can not call them pro life because they don't seem to care for any life other than the unborn. I am so sick of people forcing their beliefs on others. These hypocrites need to ask themselves what they call killing innocent children in Iraq. Oh yes, that is called War and that killing is Ok, even if it was an unjust war. These people are nuts, I had to live through 1992 "Summer of Mercy" when these wierdos laid their babies and children on 119 degree pavement of 4 lane US Hwy 54 to stop traffic in front of an abortion clinic. That is called child abuse and the state child protective services had to step in and threaten to take their children in order to keep their children from harm. What kind of sicko would do this. Separation of Church and State! Sebelius is qualified.

    March 2, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. A little sad

    @David March 2nd, 2009 3:05 pm ET

    Another Dem-Catholic that knows nothing about their faith. Where do all these Catholics for Killing come from?????

    ****************************

    Didn't the Catholic Church kill with impunity during the inquisition?

    March 2, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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