Sebelius veto of partial-birth abortion law brings HHS nomination into question

ppsebelius070409 Gov. Kathleen Sebelius

Kansas Governor and HHS Secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius has vetoed a bill that would change a state law further regulating late-term abortions. The veto prompted much protest from pro-life leaders as Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said her nomination should be withdrawn if questions about her stand on abortion are not answered.

The bill, S. 218, would have required late-term abortionists to report additional information on the killing procedures to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It also would have allowed women or girls who later believed their abortions to be illegal to sue the abortionist.

Under the proposed change, women’s husbands or minors’ parents or guardians would have been able sue if they believed the abortion was illegal.

In her Thursday veto message to legislators, Gov. Sebelius argued that doctors could have faced criminal prosecution even if they tried to comply with the law. She claimed the law would “lead to the intimidation of health care providers and reduce access to comprehensive health care for women, even when it is necessary to preserve their lives and health.”

Legislators could attempt to override the veto, though the bill was approved with less support than is needed to override it.

The pro-life group Concerned Women for America (CWA) criticized Sebelius’ veto in a Friday statement, calling the legislation “a common-sense bill” that would prevent the abortion of an “almost-born infant” for “frivolous reasons.”

CWA noted Gov. Sebelius’ connections to late-term Kansas abortionist Dr. George Tiller, who has been a major contributor to her political campaigns.

The group also argued the action contradicted the governor’s attempts to portray herself as a moderate on abortion to U.S. Senators considering her confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“For those of us in Kansas, it is no surprise that she once again shielded the abortion industry, with which she has close ties both financially and ideologically, from common-sense regulations that protect patients," said Judy Smith, State Director of CWA of Kansas. "It is tragic that a woman who claims to be for women's rights would be so cavalier about rejecting their opportunity for legal recourse when their rights are violated by an abortionist.”

Smith accused Gov. Sebelius of trying to hide her relationship with the abortion industry.

“This time her actions prove who she really is,” she said.

National CWA President Wendy Wright called the governor “brazen in her allegiance” to Tiller and charged that she put his financial interests above patients’ well-being.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Thursday charged that Sebelius had not been forthcoming about her ties to Tiller, saying “significant questions remain” about her “evolving relationship” with him.

He said there are also questions about her position on late-term abortions, the Associated Press reports.

“If Gov. Sebelius and the Obama administration are unwilling to answer these questions, President Obama should withdraw her nomination,” Steele asserted.

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