By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Frustration in the pro-life community is on the rise after Sen. Sam Brownback reaffirmed his support of pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as the next head of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department.

Brownback, once considered one of the leading pro-life forces in the U.S. Senate, confirmed Tuesday that he would vote for Sebelius, stating: "The President won the election and has nominated a Kansan to the cabinet.  Despite our profound policy differences, I will support my fellow Kansan."

The Senator ignited a firestorm among pro-life leaders Saturday when he issued a joint statement with fellow Senator Pat Roberts congratulating Sebelius, whom Planned Parenthood once called a "champion" of their agenda, on the occasion of her nomination by President Obama. (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030303.html)

Obama’s move to launch Sebelius to the top health position in the federal government was met with unanimous condemnation from leading social conservatives, who cited the governor’s steady and extreme anti-life record.  Sebelius is also considered a divisive pick because of her close ties to Kansas’ abortion industry, in particular notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller.  Both Tiller and Planned Parenthood of Kansas are currently facing criminal charges involving illegal late-term abortions and falsified abortion records. (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030203.html)

"I’m stunned that Sam would endorse her because she’s an individual who goes against everything he has said he believes in his career," stated Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, who will run against Brownback for the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination next year.  "He’s doing it out of political expediency to try to move to the left."

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network commented: "The last thing pro-life groups need is to see Senator Brownback signal his support for her nomination. That is a blow considering Brownback is a major friend to groups like Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, etc. The only way pro-life groups will be able to get traction on this is if pro-life Senators actually speak out against it."

Repeated phone calls to Sen. Brownback’s office by LifeSiteNews.com were not returned by press time.

The desertion by the senator has left pro-lifers scrambling to have their opposition heard on the Sebelius nomination.  Media reports universally acknowledge that Brownback’s support paves the way for Sebelius’s acceptance in the Senate.

A report by the Kansas City Star indicated that President Obama himself recognized the import of Brownback’s position on Sebelius. Two sources reportedly told The Star that Obama called Brownback last week to gauge his reaction.  The president’s intention, according to "a top Democrat" cited by the Star, was to ensure that Brownback wouldn’t work to derail the nomination.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins issued an email to supporters lamenting that the nomination of "arguably the most pro-abortion governor in the nation" is being met by Republican leaders "with a collective yawn."

"Here is a woman who aligns herself against 80% of the country in suggesting that the government knows better than parents in children’s health decisions, and yet the GOP can’t muster the will to fight her nomination," said Perkins.

"If Republicans won’t take a stand now, when will they? Once Sebelius is confirmed, she will control the largest government agency in America with more power and resources to advance a radical social agenda that will drive a deeper wedge between parents and their children.

"Grassroots conservatives understand what’s at stake here. Why doesn’t the Republican leadership?"

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, who is intimately familiar with Gov. Sebelius and the Kansas abortion corruption scandal, told LifeSiteNews.com that embattled pro-lifers would "move on."

"Our focus is not friendly fire, but to go after those who are truly pro-abortion," said Newman.  "Senator Brownback is not truly pro-abortion - he’s making a politically calculated move. 

"I hope to have him in this fight with us, but since we don’t, we’ll move forward."

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

ALL’s Judie Brown on Sen. Brownback: "I’ll never use ‘pro-life’ to describe him again"
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030303.html

Obama Nominates Extreme Pro-Abortion Gov. Sebelius as Health Secretary
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030203.html