Sebelius for HHS? Phill Kline Could Spoil the Party, Again

Emily Douglas

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is reportedly Obama's no. 1 pick for head of HHS. But is her fight against rogue former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline making Obama nervous about anti-choice backlash to picking her?

He likes her. She likes him. She likes the job he has for her. Everything’s copacetic between President Obama and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and she is, reportedly, his no. 1 pick for head of the Department of Health and Human Services. She’s bringing "eight years of experience as her state’s insurance commissioner as well as six years as a governor running a state Medicaid program" to the position, as the New York Times puts it, and, as a Democratic governor of a decidedly red state, lots of bipartisan know-how.

But there’s an unwelcome guest at the party: that’s former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, anti-choice crusader who subpoenaed the medical records of 90 women who had had abortions (without any indication of wrongdoing on the part of their physician, Dr. George Tiller). The Kansas Supreme Court later slapped that down, making it clear that Kline couldn’t go fishing in the hopes of finding something illegal.  As Firedoglake reports, Sebelius recruited a challenger to Kline, Paul Morrison, who ultimately defeated him, and "Morrison received financial support from Tiller’s PAC, which according
to Novak and the forced birthers is sign of a — you guessed it, grand
conspiracy."  Now, belief among anti-choicers that that Sebelius is in league with the conspiracy is enough to make the Obama administration nervous about their reaction to a Sebelius pick: "there are concerns that there will be a backlash by the anti-abortion
community if she is nominated, and that’s not a battle the White House
wants to have right now."

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