CBN News has learned that the pro-life Family Research Council is temporarily pulling out of weekly meetings chaired by Sen. Sam Brownback.
Brownback, who's against abortion, recently came out in support of pro-choice Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius-- earning him criticism from the FRC and other pro-life groups.
The FRC believes Sebelius's record on abortion as Kansas governor has been radical. Still, Brownback, who is also from Kansas and is looking at running for governor himself in two years, gave his support to Sebelius this week.
Some pro-life groups see it as a political move. Either way, the FRC wants out of the Values Action Team meetings which take place every week on Capitol Hill under Brownback's direction.
The meetings are a chance for conservative pro-family groups to gather with legislative aides on the hill to discuss strategies to advance their pro-family agenda.
"It was a very tough decision [but] the Family Research Council thought that while we try to fight against this Sebelius nomination and to bring her record to light, that it would be better if we took a temporary leave of absence from the values action team," explained FRC Senior Vice President Tom McClusky.
"We will reevaluate after the Sebelius nomination if we should go forward with the values action team," he added. "It's just that right now we feel somewhat compromised in trying to use that as a vehicle to get our message across."
A source inside the meeting told CBN News that Sen. Brownback actually offered to step down from leading the VAT meetings if the FRC was going to leave. No one in the meeting asked him to do so.
Brownback's office did not immediately respond to phone calls Friday from CBN News.
*Originally aired March 6, 2009