Sebelius garnered five more votes than the 60 needed in the 100-seat Senate. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said the “potential pandemic” of swine flu made the confirmation “essential.”
Other Democrats pointed to the need for healthcare reform as a justification for the action.
Some Republicans and pro-life advocates had opposed Gov. Sebelius’ nomination, citing her support for abortion and her ties to notorious late-term Kansas abortionist Dr. George Tiller. She initially claimed to have received $12,450 from Tiller between 1994 and 2001. On April 14, she reported that she had actually received $39,600.
Fellow Kansans Senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, as expected, voted for Gov. Sebelius. His decision to support her nomination was another source of controversy in the debate.
In 2008 Gov. Sebelius, a self-described Catholic, was admonished by Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph F. Naumann and told not to present herself for Holy Communion until she made a worthy confession and publicly repudiated her stance on abortion.
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