By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 18, 2008 ( – The Catholic Health Association (CHA) has praised President-elect Obama’s health administration picks, including Tom Daschle for Secretary of Health and Human Services, despite simultaneous dismay from the pro-life corner, which has pointed out his documented and indefatigable support for abortion on Capitol Hill. 

The former Democratic Senate majority leader, an early and avid Obama supporter, gained notoriety for his liberal views on abortion when he opposed the partial-birth abortion ban, endorsed taxpayer-funded military abortions, and supported taxpayer funding to provide morning-after pills to young public school girls.

CHA, which has often been at odds with the Vatican and U.S. bishops’ directives on sound Catholic health care, issued a statement last week lauding the confirmation of Tom Daschle for the position of the head of HHS.  The statement included a nod of approval to Jeanne Lambrew, another abortion advocate, who was appointed deputy director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

“We applaud the President-elect for choosing these two extraordinary and capable leaders who bring an enormous understanding of health care delivery issues and the need for meaningful reform for American families and businesses,” said CHA president and CEO Sister Carol Keehan in the December 11 statement.

“President-elect Obama has shown with today’s announcements that he continues to understand that health care reform is a major domestic policy issue. At the same time, he remains true to his pre-election promises to achieve health care reform that provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans while building on the existing health care system.” (To see the CHA press release, go to:

Pro-life commentator Jill Stanek, who fought to expose Obama’s refusal to protect infants who had survived an abortion, told the Catholic News Agency (CNA) that Daschle “is a disaster appointment, the opposite of a national protector of health and human services.

“The only reason President-elect Obama appointed Daschle was to assure Obama’s radical support of the abortion industry would be extended through HHS,” Stanek argued.

When news first broke of Daschle’s appointment, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council lamented that pro-life advocates were given a “frightening glimpse” into the new Cabinet, as Daschle will likely spare no effort to dismantle legal protection for the unborn, and enforce the radical Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), should it become law.  FOCA poses an unprecedented threat to women, the unborn, and the medical community, as it would dismantle all commonsense laws restricting abortion, including the partial-birth abortion ban, and eradicate doctors’ freedom of conscientious objection to abortion.

Daschle will replace current HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, who was instrumental in clearing the path for regulations protecting doctor’s constitutional freedom of conscience, including the freedom to refuse involvement in abortion.

Planned Parenthood issued a statement the same day gushing that Obama’s “excellent choice” of Daschle demonstrated that the Obama administration will be “an administration committed to ensuring women’s access to affordable, high-quality health care, family planning and prevention services, and to protecting a women’s right to choose.”  The abortion giant said they “look forward to working closely with Sen. Daschle on promoting and protecting the full range of women’s health care, including family planning and prevention services,” as they have done in the past. 

“Planned Parenthood is excited about the opportunity of having true partners in the White House and HHS committed to promoting and protecting women’s health,” concluded the statement.

Planned Parenthood also considered the Lambrew pick a stroke in favor of the abortion lobby, calling her “one of the leading health policy experts in the country, and someone who is an advocate for women’s health issues and prevention measures.”

To contact the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

3211 4th Street, N.E.
  Washington DC 20017-1194
  phone: (202) 541-3000
  email: [email protected]


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