Sebelius: 'Keeping Our Children Safe ... Most Fundamental Task'

By Penny Starr | May 7, 2013 | 5:00 PM EDT

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius presented actress and singer Demi Lovato with an award for her advocacy on behalf of youth and mental health at an event on May 7, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Sebelius spoke about society's obligation to protect children at the event. ( Starr)

( – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood who once dined with late-term abortionist George Tiller in the Kansas mansion while governor of the state, said on Tuesday “keeping children safe” is society’s “most fundamental task.”

“You know we say this often, but I think it bears repeating that we have no higher obligation as a society, as our president reminds us, than keeping our children safe and protecting their health – it’s our most fundamental task,” Sebelius said at an event at the University of the District of Columbia Community to mark National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

Sebelius joined other governmental officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and celebrity singer and actress Demi Lavoto, who has struggled with depression and substance abuse.

Sebelius has been a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, including their endorsement of her to head HHS.

“We applaud Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ confirmation as secretary of health and human services. She is an excellent choice to lead HHS and has a proven track record of increasing access to affordable care,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said on April 28, 2009.

“As countless women and their families struggle to afford quality health care during these difficult economic times, the need for health care reform that improves health outcomes is immediate,” Richards added.

In 2007, Sebelius helped raise $55,000 for a Kansas Planned Parenthood affiliate.

“Friends of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri gathered Tuesday, May 15th for a truly star-studded affair,” the affiliate’s newsletter article stated. ‘“I’ve Got Rhythm, I’ve Got Rights’ showcased two champions of our cause, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and PPFA National President, Cecile Richards.

On April 21, 2008, then Kansas governor Sebelius vetoed Senate Bill 389, the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act, which would have required women to see an ultrasound image of their unborn child before having an abortion.

The bill also would have required the state to collect more detailed diagnoses for why a late-term abortion was needed and would have allowed relatives of a woman who underwent or planned a late-term abortion to file suit against the provider if they believe the abortion violates the law.

“The U.S. Supreme Court decisions make clear that any law regulating abortion must contain exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman’s life or health,” Sebelius wrote in a statement on the veto. “However, SB 389 allows a variety of individuals to seek a court order preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion, even where it may be necessary to save her life.

“I am concerned that the bill is unconstitutional or even worse, endangers the lives of women,” Sebelius wrote.

Sebelius reversed some of her opposition to pro-life legislation in Kansas in 2009 when, while awaiting her confirmation as HHS secretary, she signed a bill that amended a state law requiring doctors to obtain a patient’s informed consent before performing an abortion, according to a March 28, 2009 Associated Press article:

“The measure requires abortion providers who use ultrasound or monitor fetal heartbeats to give their patients access to the images or sound at least 30 minutes before an abortion,” the article stated. “The amended law takes effect July 1.”

Sebelius, a Catholic, also has been criticized by the church for supporting abortion. In the May 9, 2008 issue of The, Joseph Naumann, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, chided Sebelius for vetoing SB 389 and repeated his earlier call for her to cease taking Holy Communion.

“Having made every effort to inform and to persuade Governor Sebelius and after consultation with Bishop Ron Gilmore (Dodge City), Bishop Paul Coakley (Salina) and Bishop Michael Jackels (Wichita), I wrote the governor last August requesting that she refrain from presenting herself for reception of the Eucharist until she had acknowledged the error of her past positions, made a worthy sacramental confession and taken the necessary steps for amendment of her life which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion,” Naumann said.

“Recently, it came to my attention that the governor had received holy Communion at one of our parishes,” Naumann wrote. “I have written to her again, asking her to respect my previous request and not require from me any additional pastoral actions.”

In September 2005, Sebelius donated a reception to be held at Cedar Crest, the official residence of the governor, to an auction benefiting the Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus, an organization that works to have pro-abortion candidates elected to office.

At the auction, late-term abortionist George Tiller who ran a Wichita abortion clinic, bid on and won the prize. Tiller and his staff dined with Sebelius at her home on April 9, 2007.

“Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said Wednesday that Tiller attended an April 9, 2007, event at Cedar Crest, the governor's residence,” according to a March 28, 2008 Fox News report. “She said the reception had been offered as a prize at an earlier fundraising auction for the Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus.”

“‘Governor Sebelius donates auction items like a dinner or reception to organizations whose causes she supports,’ Corcoran said. ‘We do not control who purchases it.’”

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