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

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2009 ( - The full senate vote on the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as head of the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be delayed for two weeks, after the second Senate confirmation hearing Thursday failed to question the governor on her pro-abortion record, or her controversial ties to the abortion industry.

At least one Republican senator has objected to a quick vote on the Senate floor on the Sebelius nomination, leaving the decision up in the air for another two weeks, before the Senate returns from recess.  It was unclear Friday as to why the objection arose.

Although questions were floated regarding Sebelius’ recent payment of back taxes - a problem that derailed former senator Tom Daschle’s bid for the same position - Thursday’s hearing reportedly made no mention of the affair. 

The hearing committee also failed to address vocal opposition to the Sebelius pick by pro-lifers, who have decried her consistent vetoes of laws aiming to regulate Kansas’ booming late-term abortion business.  A Politico report indicated that the hearing was rushed due to the simultaneous marathon voting session on the Senate floor regarding the budget resolution.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser expressed dismay over the lack of information revealed about Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ record on abortion.

"Today’s Senate Finance Committee Hearing was an important opportunity to enlighten public debate about Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ egregious record on abortion in her home state of Kansas," said Dannenfelser yesterday.  "Yet despite the deep bench of pro-life heroes serving on the Senate Finance Committee, not one Senator could manage to ask a single question publicly about Sebelius’ blind eye toward women’s health and regulating abortion clinics."

Dannenfelser criticized Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, normally considered one of the Senate’s leading pro-life advocates, for not challenging Sebelius at the hearing.  Brownback drew ire from the pro-life community in early March when he welcomed the Sebelius nomination, a move many regarded as paving the way for an easy Senate confirmation. 

Pro-life voices in the Senate will be able to raise the issue of Sebelius’ abortion record when Congress re-convenes later this month. 

"I remind these Senators, millions of pro-life Americans are watching and waiting, and they strongly urge you to fulfill your duty to thorough public debate over the Sebelius nomination," said Dannenfelser.

The American Life League, which has hosted a campaign to block the confirmation of Sebelius, is urging pro-lifers to contact Kansas Sen. Brownback and Roberts to oppose the nomination, thus invoking a tradition of "senatorial courtesy" whereby a nominee is only confirmed if his or her home-state senators approve.

To contact Sen. Sam Brownback:
(202) 224-6521
email form:

To contact Sen. Pat Roberts:
(202) 224-4774
email form:

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