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Catholics for Choice Statement on the Sebelius Appointment: A Victory for Common Sense

April 29, 2009

Washington, DC – Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement today congratulating Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on her appointment to head the Department of Health and Human Services:

“Secretary Sebelius has an immense task ahead of her, one that we feel she is more than qualified to accomplish.  Her commitment to protecting the moral capacity of women and men to make decisions about their lives is just one example of both her aptitude and dedication to Catholic social teaching.  In these times, it is heartening to know that the person at the helm of the Department of Health and Human Services recognizes the value of family planning and abortion services.

“The journey to Secretary Sebelius’ appointment has been fraught with opposition from a small lobby of vocal conservatives—including some Catholic bishops.  However, critics should be reminded that 54 percent of US Catholics voted to elect President Barack Obama, a prochoice president and a recent poll by the US bishops revealed that nine-in-ten Catholics support keeping abortion legal.  In short, as with the general population, there is overwhelming support for reproductive rights among Catholics.

“Reproductive health services should not be at the center of every debate, but these issues should not be pushed aside for expediency or for the sake of an extra vote to get a bill through Congress. However, it is time to move on from the culture wars over abortion and contraception.  The Senate is to be applauded for rising above these battles in order to confirm the nomination of Secretary Sebelius.

“Secretary Sebelius’ appointment is as much a victory for common sense and reason as it is for all those she will impact in her new position. Catholics for Choice looks forward to working with Secretary Sebelius and her department to further expand access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare services.”