Blog Post

Sec. Sebelius Dodges Questions about Abortion and Communion

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), who is pro-choice and Catholic, dodged questions about whether or not she believes abortion should be included in health care reform, and if she continues to take Communion after being told to refrain from the Sacrament by her hometown bishop. In the interview, which appeared yesterday in the Washington Post, Sec. Sebelius confirmed that she considers herself to be pro-choice on the abortion issue. She was then asked if she personally believed the federal government should fund abortions. Instead of answering, she referred to the presidents address to Congress last week in which she believed he made it clear that the new plans would not provide federal funds for abortion. “Well I know that,” the interviewer pressed. “I was asking what you thought.” Sec. Sebelius responded: “I am the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and I will support the President's proposal moving forward.” Abandoning this line of questioning, the interviewer moved on to the subject of the Secretary’s faith and her pro-choice views. “ . . . (I) was reading some stories out of your home state recently where one of the bishops took an action. Can you tell us a little bit about that?” “Well, the Archbishop in the Kansas City area did not approve of my conduct as a public official,” Sec. Sebelius said, “and asked that I not present myself for communion.” This incident occurred in May, 2008, when the Archbishop of Kansas City, Joseph F. Naumann, called on the then-Governor Sebelius to stop taking Communion until she repudiates her support for the “serious moral evil” of abortion. Bishop Naumann said this repudiation should involve a confession, a public apology and a promise to undo the damage done by her “scandalous behavior that has misled people into dangerous behavior.” “What did you think about that,” the interviewer asked. “Well, it was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life, and I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state, and I feel that my actions as a parishioner are different than my actions as a public official and that the people who elected me in Kansas had a right to expect me to uphold their rights and their beliefs even if they did not have the same religious beliefs that I had. And that's what I did: I took an oath of office and I have taken an oath of office in this job and will uphold the law.” The interviewer then asked, “Do you continue to take communion?” The Secretary responded: “I really would prefer not to discuss it with you. That's really a personal - thank you.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®