Last night, Kansas Governor and HHS secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a bill that would have placed more stringent restrictions on late-term abortions in Kansas. The timing of her veto is not good. The vast majority of Americans and Kansans do not approve of late-term abortion, and conservatives had hoped that she wouldn’t take the politically bold move of vetoing the bill during her confirmation process. Her confirmation has taken longer than expected because of revelations about her extreme pro-abortion stance and the close ties she has with notorious Kansas late term abortion provider George Tiller. Most notably, she failed to disclose donations she received from Dr. Tiller, first reporting only $12,450 in contributions and then admitting to an additional $23,000 after pro-life groups exposed the ties.
In fact, just yesterday RNC chief Michael Steele took the step of releasing a statement on Sebelius’s abortion industry ties: “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…If Gov. Sebelius and the Obama administration are unwilling to answer these questions, President Obama should withdraw her nomination.”
Prior to yesterday, Sebelius’s history of vetoing abortion restrictions and her history of close association with Tiller showed that abortion was one of her priorities. She was close enough to the abortion industry for the Washington Times to suggest that nominating her to the bureacracy that would regulate that industry constitutes a conflict of interest, much like nominating the head of an investment bank to regulate his competitors.
By casting an unpopular veto during a closely-watched nomination, though, Sebelius has shown that her stance on abortion is not just one item on the agenda — she prioritizes abortion even above her own political future. Access to late-term abortions in Kansas is apparently something she is willing to sacrifice for.