By John-Henry Westen

KANSAS CITY, September 14, 2006 ( – Just as Sunflower State Governor Kathleen Sebelius is gearing up for the November 7 gubernatorial election, her past pro-abortion statements have come back to haunt her. Recent polls have Sebelius, a Democrat, at 48 per cent support, leading Republican contender Jim Barnett with 37 per cent.

After receiving letters and calls of concern from Catholics in his archdiocese, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has written a column criticizing Governor Kathleen Sebelius for publicly identify herself as a Catholic in the midst of her strident abortion support.

On May 19, Sebelius vetoed Senate Bill 528, which would have curbed the practice of abortion clinics violating the law by allowing late term abortions for reasons not permitted by law. The bill required documentation of the reasons for such abortions.

Sebelius vetoed the bill offering the spurious reason that it may lead to violation of the privacy of women seeking abortions. However, the bill did not violate such privacy, as adequate protections for patient confidentiality were part of the legislation.

However, most Catholics who wrote their concerns to Archbishop Naumann were concerned about a line within Sebelius’ veto message in which she proclaimed herself Catholic. Gov. Sebelius in her veto message stated:“Abortion is an important moral concern to all Kansans. My Catholic faith teaches me that life is sacred. Personally, I believe abortion is wrong.”Â

The archbishop points out in his September 8 column, however, that Sebelius has a near-perfect pro-abortion voting record. Or as Archbishop Naumann put it, ” it is difficult to find a single instance, either in a procedural or substantive vote, where she acted in a manner that would afford unborn children the maximum protection . . . Sebelius voted to weaken or eliminate even such modest measures as parental notification, waiting periods and informed consent.”

The archbishop also contested Sebelius’ stated concern for women noting that she has vetoed bills aimed at making abortion clinics safer which would have required such clinics to adhere to standard regulations.

In order to correct Catholics who may have been mislead by the Governor’s claim to be Catholic while advocating “safe, legal” abortion, the Bishop formally reiterated the Church teaching condemning abortion.

“Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral . . . The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end itself or as a means to a good end “

In conclusion Archbishop Naumann urged “all Kansas Catholics to pray for Gov. Sebelius that she might reconsider her long held position supporting legalized abortion.” He added: “Regarding the Catholic Church ‘s teaching concerning abortion, let no one be confused. The church’s understanding, as reiterated by Pope John Paul II, has been clear and consistent for two thousand years.”

See the Archbishop’s full column: