Kathleen Sebelius Explains Being a Pro-Choice Pro-Lifer

The Kansas governor and health and human services secretary nominee on her abortion position

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Pro-life groups have come out in force against health and human services secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius over her pro-choice record. But Sebelius, the Roman Catholic governor of Kansas, has talked publicly about being a pro-choice pro-lifer. Here's an excerpt from her 2006 address at the Kansans for Faithful Citizenship conference, in which she discussed abortion more than any other issue:

Of course, no discussion of life and dignity of the human person can be complete without discussing the important issue of abortion.

My Catholic faith teaches me that all life is sacred, and personally I believe abortion is wrong. However, I disagree with the suggestion that criminalizing women and their doctors is an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the number of abortions in our nation.

There is another way. By working in support of the common good we can better protect human life and the dignity of all people.

If we work hard and match our rhetoric with our actions, we can create a culture that is more welcoming of mothers and treasuring of our children. We must redouble our efforts on prevention and personal responsibility. We must stand with women who feel so alone that abortion seems like their only choice. These women need people to walk with them, not cast stones at them.

A recent study found the abortion rate in Kansas declines as employment opportunities, access to health care and support networks for women and children increase. By supporting our children with quality schools, increasing access to affordable health care for expectant mothers and their babies, creating jobs that pay fair wages and creating additional incentives for adoption, we are moving in the right direction.

I'm proud that the abortion rate has declined 11% in Kansas during the last three and half years. Of course, more needs to be done.

If we truly wish to reduce the number of abortions further, we need to work together to truly promote a culture of life, by helping women and families get the support they need when facing unexpected pregnancies and to continue to reduce the number of abortions. Health care, child care, job opportunities, affordable housing—they are all the building blocks of a culture of life and we can use them to build a future where abortion is extremely rare.

You can read the full address here, courtesy of Catholics United.