By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 23, 2009 ( – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele today challenged President Obama to withdraw his nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, until straightforward answers be given regarding her ties to the abortion industry.  Steele’s statement came the same day Republican senators blocked Sebelius’ confirmation vote, and the same day the Kansas governor vetoed yet another state law that would have restricted late-term abortions.

“Significant questions remain about Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ evolving relationship with a late-term abortion doctor as well as about her position on the practice of late-term abortions,” said Steele in a press release today.  “The Senate should not vote, nor should Gov. Sebelius be confirmed, until these questions are answered fully and completely.”

Steele pointed out that Gov. Sebelius “has not been forthcoming” about her financial relationship with Kansas late-term abortionist George Tiller. 

“She [Sebelius] admitted the full extent of the political contributions she received from Dr. Tiller only after press reports contradicted her previous financial statements,” Steele pointed out.

The GOP Chairman also challenged Sebelius to publicly reveal her position on “the extremist and heinous practice of late-term abortions.”

“The vast majority of Americans do not support the concept of late-term abortions,” said Steele.  “They deserve to know whether President Obama’s choice to be the nation’s top health official supports these indefensible procedures.”

Steele said that until Gov. Sebelius provides “clear and complete answers to these questions,” the Senate should not vote on her confirmation. 

If Sebelius and the Obama administration refuse to give answers, he concluded, “President Obama should withdraw her nomination.”

Steele’s remarks put further strain on a nomination already troubled by questions lately raised concerning Sebelius’ true relationship with George Tiller.  Tiller, currently under investigation for performing illegal abortions, conducts one of the busiest late-term abortion businesses in the country.  Pro-life advocates point out that his success is largely indebted to Sebelius’ consistent vetoing of laws that would have restricted or enforced restrictions on late-term abortions in the state.

When asked about her connection to the Kansas abortionist by one Republican senator last week, Sebelius reported only a fraction of the actual donations she received from Tiller and his political action committee, as later revealed in state records and a letter from Tiller. (

Despite these concerns, the GOP appeared to have raised little opposition to the confirmation before GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the confirmation vote today after a lengthy debate.  Two of the ten Finance Committee Republicans, Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Olympia Snowe of Maine, had voted to bring Sebelius’ nomination to the Senate floor.

In an additional complication, more confirmation of Sebelius’ extreme abortion support came today as the Kansas governor vetoed yet another law that would have restricted late-term abortions in the state, reports the Associated Press.

The law aimed to give women and girls, as well as their husbands or parents, power to sue abortionists if they perform the procedure illegally.  The legislation also would have required late-term abortionists to provide a fuller account of each procedure to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Sebelius’ abortion connection is not the only concern that has been raised about the HHS nominee.

Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.), the same senator who questioned Sebelius on her abortion ties, issued a press release Monday saying that he would not support Sebelius’ nomination because she supports initiatives that could lead to a rationing of healthcare, to the disadvantage of the elderly and disabled.

“She [Sebelius] left me with no assurance that HHS, federal health care programs, or any new entity – such as the Federal Coordinating Council – will not use comparative effectiveness research as a tool to deny care,” said Kyl.  “And this should be a matter of concern to all of us.”

Kyl highlighted one particular project that Sebelius supports, which promotes cost effectiveness research as providing “accurate and objective information to guide future policies that support the allocation of health resources for the treatment of acute and chronic conditions.”

“‘Allocation of health resources’ is a euphemism for denying care based on cost,” said Kyl.  “Yet, Governor Sebelius did not agree to pull this project.”

Democrats say they have enough support to prevent a filibuster on the vote, which will likely happen next week.

U.S. Capitol Switchboard
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U.S. Senator Sam Brownback
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U.S. Senator Pat Roberts
Phone: (202) 224-4774

See related coverage:

Sebelius Approved by Senate panel, Final Confirmation Pending

Letter Reveals another $200,000 Donation from Notorious Abortionist Tiller to Help Elect Sebelius

Sebelius Caught Underreporting Campaign Contributions from Notorious Abortionist: HHS Nomination May be in Jeopardy

Senate Committee Silent on Sebelius Abortion Ties as Full Senate Vote is Delayed