Far-Right Reveal Extremism Surfaces (Again) in Abortion Battle on Sebelius

Scott Swenson

In the Sebelius nomination fight, Americans can see the far-right and their manipulative abortion politics for what they really are -- distractions.

We Kansans sometimes take things personally.  

The HHS nomination battle is getting personal, not for Gov. Kathleen Sebelieus, but for the sexual health of all Americans.

Sebelius has never played political games, so the petty behavior from the far-right reveals their extremism without laying a glove on her.  The far-right recognizes that centrist, pro-choice Catholic Sebelius will reshape the reproductive health landscape and lay a foundation for progressive policies based on solid American values like privacy, personal responsibility, honesty, and equality — not only in the short-term — but within health care reform.

There can be no doubt she is as politically centrist as Kansas is geographically, especially on sexual and reproductive health issues. The far-right wouldn’t fight Kathleen Sebelius so hard if she didn’t literally define the center so well. 

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Out of touch with the vast majority of Americans on sex ed, contraception and abortion, the far-right is apparently also clueless when it comes to crisis.

Regardless of your position on abortion, I bet I know it on swine flu.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is exactly the kind of woman you want running HHS, right now, today, when epidemics break out. I’ve watched her career from its start, she is brilliant, compassionate, and tough as nails when working her way to solutions.  She is recognized as one of the most pragmatic governors in the nation, bringing people together in the center to solve problems, not play politics.

She had the vision to help make sure an entire city, Greensburg, Kansas, was rebuilt as a model green city after it was leveled by a tornado, demonstrating an ability not just to respond to crisis, but to see through it in ways most Americans agree makes sense for the future. She was an early critic of over-reliance on the National Guard in Iraq, rendering states less ready to face local emergencies, or deal with ongoing issues at home.

Issues like swine flu, should this become the worst case scenario the National Guard and others have prepared for.

The people who brought you the Bush Administration and the Katrina Response are stonewalling the Sebelius nomination in the face of a major national public health crisis based solely on ideology and stigmatizing people in the process.

Sound familiar?

When AIDS first broke in the
early 1980’s, the far-right used ideology to stigmatize
gay people and worked to deny, delay and thwart public health experts who demanded swift response. The far-right continue their anti-gay campaigns three decades later
while trying to "do the right thing" on AIDS in Africa, if not at home. 

But they keep tripping
over their ideology.

HIV runs rampant precisely because of the far-right’s failure
to respond to facts with anything but ideology. They continue to deny the importance of reproductive health, family planning,
and encouraging reality-based, healthy and responsible sexual
decision-making by everyone.

In holding the Sebelius nomination
hostage based on abortion, the far-right stigmatizes women for wanting
to make decisions about their reproductive lives just as surely as they
tried to blame AIDS on homosexuals. Their policies, far from being morally superior, are proven time and again to be failures and their political strategies, in the face of crisis, call into question their very ability to govern.  Their stonewalling based on ideology is allowing yet another epidemic to go unchecked, unless of course Americans once and for all see the far-right and their manipulative abortion politics for what they really are — distractions.


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