Pro-life, pro-Obama Catholics collide over Sebelius confirmation


After the U.S. Senate voted 65-31 to confirm Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic who strongly supports legal abortion, as the Secretary of Health and Human Services, pro-Obama and pro-life Catholics collided over the consequences of the appointment. Pro-lifers are promising to battle against the pro-abortion Dawn Johnsen, who awaits confirmation for the Office of Legal Counsel.

“Catholics United,” a group that has so far justified all of President Obama’s pro-abortion decisions, issued a statement congratulating Sebelius and applauding the U.S. Senate “for today's decisive action.”

Catholics United executive director Chris Korzen, who created a website to support Sebelius’ confirmation stated that, “we look forward to Secretary Sebelius' work in implementing President Obama's plans for universal health care, abortion reduction, and improved assistance for America's struggling families.”

“Catholics of all political backgrounds have cause to welcome the values of mercy and compassion that Secretary Sebelius' faith will bring to this important position,” the statement adds.

Catholics United called for “Secretary Sebelius' opponents – particularly those in the Catholic community – to accept the Senate's decision and join her in working toward common good-oriented public policy that will benefit human life at all stages.”

But Deal Hudson, founder of “Catholic Advocate,” who created the site, told CNA that “the Senate confirmation of Governor  Sebelius as secretary of HHS is a clear and present danger to the culture of life in our nation.”

“Sebelius, in spite of professing a Catholic faith, has been a consistent supporter of abortion and abortionists.  However, she serves in an administration committed to ‘abortion reduction,’ a position reiterated to Cardinal George by the president in a private meeting a few weeks ago.” According to Hudson, “when Cardinal George told President Obama he has done nothing but send the ‘wrong signals,’ the president said to Cardinal George, ‘be patient and you will see a pattern of change.’” 

“Perhaps the president will charge Secretary Sebelius with initiating this ‘change,’ and, if so, I am sure Catholics will support her and the president in reversing the pro-abortion decisions of the first 100 days of the Obama presidency,” Hudson said.

Meanwhile, the president of the pro-life organization “Susan B. Anthony List,” Marjorie Dannenfelser said that “despite the results of tonight's vote, we're finding that more and more Americans are waking up to the danger of President Obama's nominations of extreme abortion advocates to serve in his administration.”

According to Dannenfelser, the high profile Sebelius confirmation battle has generated new interest and brought thousands of new activists on board for the pro-life cause.

“This grassroots energy,” she said, “will only increase our momentum as we confront the next round of President Obama's extreme pro-abortion nominees, beginning with former NARAL Legal Director Dawn Johnsen.”

“We expect all pro-life Senators will oppose Dawn Johnsen's nomination for Office of Legal Counsel, and their support will be critical to keeping her extreme abortion views out of the White House.”

Susan B. Anthony List activists have generated over 60,000 letters of opposition to Senators regarding the Sebelius nomination. Already over 37,000 letters have been sent in opposition to the Johnsen nomination.

While Johnsen served as Legal Director for NARAL, she authored numerous legal opinions rejecting any and all restrictions on abortion. Some notable quotes from Johnsen's amicus curiae brief in the case Webster v. Reproductive Health Services include:

“Abortion restrictions reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.”

“The argument that women who become pregnant have in some sense consented to the pregnancy belies reality...and others who are the inevitable losers in the contraceptive lottery no more 'consent' to pregnancy than pedestrians 'consent' to being struck by drunk drivers.”

Johnsen awaits a floor vote by the full U.S. Senate to gain confirmation to head the Office of Legal Counsel.

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