Can Pro-Life Groups Derail Sebelius Nom?

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CBN -- THE WHITE HOUSE -- It's going to be one of the toughest jobs in D.C., tackling healthcare. So the new movie that's now playing here is "Mrs. Sebelius Comes to Washington."

"Kathleen has a remarkable intellect, unquestioned integrity and a kind of pragmatic wisdom you'll tend to find in a Kansan. I know she will bring some much needed grace and good humor to Washington and she will be a tremendous asset to my cabinet," Obama said as he introduced Sebelius.

"We can't fix the economy without fixing healthcare. The work won't be easy, but bringing about real change rarely is," Sebelius added.

The Kansas governor comes in with a reputation of working across the aisle. A skill she will need to help sell universal healthcare to skeptical Republicans.

Right now though, skepticism abounds from pro-life groups who believe her track record on abortion is extreme.

"There is something for everyone to be offended by in her nomination," said the Susan B. Anthony's Marjorie Dannenfelser. "I'm not saying she's not a lovely person to have over for dinner. I'm sure she is, but she has taken it completely out of the mainstream."

Their list of complaints are numerous, including vetoing a bill that would have required late term abortionists from disclosing why they are performing the procedure.

Also they say she vetoed a bill that would have provided for better safety standards at abortion clinics. They also question her relationship with late term abortionist George Tiller who is currently facing criminal charges. but Sebelius has her defenders.

"They're not really looking at her record honestly,"said Catholics United's James Salt. "Abortions have declined ten percent in Kansas. She can't be reduced in soundbites. There is a lot here as a person of faith as a public servant, he continued."

Sebelius says as a Catholic she's personally against abortion and her supporters say she signed bills that promoted adoption and prenatal care.

Most significantly, she signed a bill that would make it a double crime to kill a pregnant woman and her unborn fetus. Not exactly a pro-choice sort of bill.

The group Catholics United is coming to her defense by circulating an online petition in her defense and rounding up some Catholic leaders to speak on her behalf.

She's even getting support from staunch pro-life Catholic Sam Brownback who said in a statement, "It's an honor for the state of Kansas to have an elected official appointed to the president's cabinet."

So can pro-life groups really derail a Sebelius nomination?

"He has withdrawn nominees before because he doesn't want a stomach ache and this nominee is going to give him a stomach ache," Dannenfelser said. "He doesn't want to be arguing the abortion issue over and over. He wants it to go away."

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News White House Correspondent

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