GOP head attacks Sebelius over veto

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele attacked Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’s nomination to be health secretary because he disapproved her veto of a Kansas bill designed to harass Dr. George Tiller of Wichita and any other physician who chose to perform a late term abortion.
Gov. Sebelius explain-ed her veto thusly:
“The provisions in this bill would allow for the criminal prosecution of a physician intending to comply with the law and will lead to the intimidation of health care providers and reduce access to comprehensive health care for women, even when it is necessary to preserve their lives and health,” Sebelius wrote in her veto message.
The bill would also have allowed women who asked for and were granted an abortion to sue for damages after the fact if they later decided the abortion was not a good idea — an open invitation for zealots to urge such punitive actions.
Those who have paid attention to the Kansas Legislature over the past 16 years and more will recognize this bill and this veto as expected features of every Session. Democrat Gov. Sebelius and Republican Bill Graves before her regularly rejected bills each year of their eight years in office which catered to the anti-abortion right wing of the state GOP.
As for the people of Kansas, it is instructive that both Graves and Sebelius defeated right wing opponents in primary and general elections.
Each won election and re-election by significant majorities.
Because state and national abortion policy is only a critical political issue for about 25 percent of the population, it is curious that the head of the national Republican Party would choose to align himself with that minority position at a time when the GOP sorely needs to broaden its appeal — and that he would choose to do so by opposing a presidential nomination which is certain to be confirmed by the Senate. It is a choice which chills hope for bipartisan cooperation in dealing with the major problems which face our nation.

GOV. SEBELIUS was chosen by President Barack Obama to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services because of her interest in and knowledge of health care reform. One of his strongest campaign planks was a promise to find ways to cover the roughly 50 million Americans without health insurance. As secretary, Sebelius will lead that reform effort to keep a promise that the vast majority of the American people want kept.
One must hope that Chairman Steele’s opposition to her nomination is not a sign that he and his party will also oppose meaningful health care reform and further erode their standing with the American people.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.