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FOCA by stealth

This is the fifth entry in a series on FOCA by Stealth by AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs, Denise M. Burke. The entire article from which this series is taken is available at Beware of “FOCA-By-Stealth”: Radical Abortion-on-Demand Agenda Being Implemented Piecemeal.

Executive Appointments

The President has the responsibility to make a wide range of executive appointments, including Cabinet members, ambassadors, and other Executive Branch officials. These individuals are charged with implementing the President’s policies on a variety of topics, including abortion and important civil rights such as healthcare freedom of conscience.

Among the appointed positions with a direct impact on abortion-related policies are the Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Commissioner of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Surgeon General.

In the current Administration, even the Secretary of State is expected to use her office to promote abortion-on-demand. In the face of increasing threats to U.S. security, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has inexplicably promised that promoting “reproductive rights” (i.e., abortion-on-demand) will be at the top of the Administration’s international agenda. On March 30, 2009, Secretary Clinton received Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization’s founder, an avowed proponent of race-based eugenics. In her acceptance speech, Secretary Clinton stated, “reproductive rights . . . will be a key to the foreign policy of the United States” during the Obama Administration and that she was proud President Obama had already repealed the Mexico City Policy. She also opined that Planned Parenthood is “one of the great exports that America has” and she looks forward to partnering with Planned Parenthood in effectuating President Obama’s foreign policy.

Moreover, on March 1, 2009, President Obama nominated pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebilius to serve as Secretary of HHS. If confirmed, she will be in a position to profoundly influence American healthcare, including federal and state policies regarding abortion, healthcare rights of conscience, bioethics and biotechnologies, and end-of-life issues.

As HHS Secretary, Governor Sebelius would be in a position to make important policy determinations including:

  • Whether to rescind, modify, or retain HHS rules requiring recipients of HHS funding certify their compliance with existing federal laws protecting healthcare freedom of conscience. In March 2009, HHS announced its intent to rescind these protective rules and requested public comment on the rules and their implications.
  • How to respond to the recent unilateral decision of a federal district court judge ordering the FDA to expand the over-the-counter availability of “emergency contraceptives” (such as Plan B) to allow some minors to obtain these controversial and potentially dangerous drugs without a prescription or parental involvement.
  • Whether to rescind approval for or, at a minimum, review the safety and efficacy of RU-486 (“the abortion pill”), which has killed at least 7 women in the U.S. since it was approved by the FDA in September 2000.

Sadly, her extensive public record demonstrates she is an ardent supporter of abortion-on-demand and gives strong indications she will implement and follow strongly pro-abortion policies during her tenure as HHS Secretary.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s then-State Representative Sebelius voted to weaken or eliminate even such modest abortion-related measures as parental notification, reflection periods, and informed consent, all constitutional measures.

However, her record as Governor is, in substantial part, even more extreme in its support for abortion. She has routinely opposed or vetoed abortion-accountability bills, including medically-supported clinic regulation legislation which she vetoed in both 2003 and 2005. The need for this critical legislation was predicated, in large part, on evidence of shocking conditions in Kansas abortion clinics. For example, two inspections of the same Topeka abortion clinic discovered fetal remains stored in the same refrigerator as food; a dead rodent in the clinic hallway; overflowing, uncovered disposal bins containing medical waste; unlabeled, pre-drawn syringes with controlled substances in an unlocked refrigerator; improperly labeled and expired medicines; a carpeted floor in a surgical procedure room; and visible dirt and general disarray throughout the clinic. Dr. Krishna Rajanna, who operated the unsafe and unsanitary clinic, also consistently violated practice guidelines for conscious sedation.

In 2008, she vetoed a measure that would have strengthened the state’s existing parental notification law by 1) requiring any adult accompanying a minor show identification, declare in writing their relationship to the minor, and identify the putative father of the unborn child; 2) requiring the minor to show some form of photo identification providing identity and place of residence; and 3) if the minor chooses to seek a judicial waiver of the law’s requirements, prohibiting any employee of an abortion provider or clinic from assisting her with the requisite court filings and proceedings.

More shocking is her continuing and unyielding support for late-term abortions, including post-viability abortions. Over the past three years, she has vetoed measures:

  • Requiring explicit and medically-supported reasons for late-term abortions;
  • Requiring abortion providers to report the diagnosis or the nature of the condition which necessitated a post-viability abortion;
  • Permitting injunctive relief for either a completed or about-to-be-performed illegal late-term abortion; and
  • Adding certain prosecutors (in addition to the Attorney General) to investigate and pursue violations of existing restrictions on late-term abortions.

Interestingly, in the face of these controversial vetoes, Governor Sebelius honored notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller, 25 friends and employees of Tiller’s Wichita abortion facility, and Nebraska partial-birth abortionist LeRoy Carhart at the Governor’s mansion in April 2007.

Governor Sebelius not only honored radical abortion supporters and renegade practitioners at the Governor’s mansion. She also appointed them to important state positions. For example, she appointed a former abortion clinic “escort” John Carmichael, a militant supporter of Tiller’s Political Action Committee, ProKanDo, to the state Human Rights Commission. His name was quietly withdrawn ten months later in May 2008.

She further appointed political supporter and abortionist Howard Ellis to serve on the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts after he surrendered his medical license in Missouri rather than face disciplinary charges. Ellis resigned under pressure, and two months later he was charged by the Board with attempting to persuade a physician to falsify records.