Second Kathleen Sebelius Hearing Ignores Abortion, Senate Confirmation Delayed

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 2, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Second Kathleen Sebelius Hearing Ignores Abortion, Senate Confirmation Delayed

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 2
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The second hearing today on pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, appointed by President Barack Obama to become his Health Secretary, featured no questions on the topic of abortion. Though the hearing could have had fireworks over her extreme pro-abortion position, it was decidedly dispassionate.

The hearing concluded without any exchanges about her pro-abortion record or her close ties to late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a pro-abortion Montana Democrat, says he expects the Senate to okay her nomination, but explained that the vote will be delayed.

The vote probably won’t take place until after upcoming two-week recess because one senator is objecting to the nomination.

“I’m afraid there’s a senator who will not grant consent so that means it has to be delayed until after the recess,” Baucus said without naming the senator. He only confirmed the objecting lawmaker is a Republican.

The only issue touched on during the hearing of interest to pro-life advocates was health care and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, a pro-life Iowa Republican, told Sebelius and his colleagues that he is concerned about reconciliation.

That is a procedural maneuver concerning pro-life advocates that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has said could be employed to prohibit pro-life lawmakers from filibustering a health care package covering abortions.

Grassley and several other Republican members of the panel made clear their distaste for the idea, saying it would curtail their rights as the minority to stand up against legislation they strongly oppose.

Though Baucus says Sebelius can expect to be confirmed soon, some pro-life lawmakers will oppose her over her pro-abortion record.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican member of the committee which will vote on Sebelius, has already indicated he will oppose her nomination and that abortion is the reason why.

"For Sen. Cornyn, his reservations are specifically over the abortion issue," an aide told The Hill.

Sebelius did answer a couple of questions on abortion during her first hearing on Tuesday.

Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, asked Sebelius about the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 that has resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen women worldwide and injured more than 1,400 in the United States alone.

He asked Sebelius if the Obama administration had any plans to classify the abortion drug as an “emergency contraceptive” — which would exempt it from the Hyde amendment that prohibits direct taxpayer funding of abortions.

"As far as I know, there are no plans, I certainly have had no discussions with anyone about changing that policy," she said. Responding further, Sebelius added, "Again, I am not confirmed as secretary, I haven’t had those discussions."

HELP Committee ranking member Mike Enzi also nominally addressed abortion during the first Sebelius hearing.

"We may not always agree on every issue. I am and will remain staunchly pro-life and will continue to advocate for legislation to protect the rights of the unborn," he said.

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