Daily Archives: April 15, 2013

What it means to be on the front lines

A New York Times editorial Sunday headlined “Courage in Kansas” recounted some of the obstacles and threats that Julie Burkhart has faced in opening the South Wind Women’s Center, a women’s health care and abortion clinic in Wichita. These include a chilling jailhouse conversation that an anti-abortion group recorded with Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Burkhart’s former boss, Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller. Roeder said that Burkhart had put a target on her back. The editorial concluded: “Dangerous and unconstitutional legislative restrictions, unceasing harassment, threats of violence and fearful doctors having to hide their identities for self-protection: This is what it means to be on the front line of trying to deliver legal and necessary reproductive health care to women in Wichita.” Meanwhile, anti-abortion groups are criticizing the media for not giving more coverage to the case of a Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of delivering live babies and then killing them.

Sebelius still facing political fights on Obamacare

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted during a program at Harvard University last week how the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act and the re-election of President Obama haven’t ended the attacks on Obamacare. “The politics has been relentless and continuous,” she said. “We find ourselves still having sort of state-by-state political battles.” That includes in Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback still hasn’t decided whether to allow a federal expansion of Medicaid. Sebelius cited some of the benefits of ACA that are already in place (such as 6 million young adults being able to remain on their parents’ insurance policies and more than 70 million people receiving preventive health services without a co-pay). She also argued that many critics won’t acknowledge how much our health care system needed reform. “Prior to the Affordable Care Act,” she said, “America spent just about twice as much as any developed country per capita on health care, and our health results looked like we were a developing country.” But is ACA fixing that or making it worse?

Former Kansan’s judicial nomination key for Obama

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has four vacancies, including, unbelievably, the one created when Chief Justice John Roberts left that bench in 2005. President Obama is hoping his latest nominee for that court, Sri Srinivasan, will avoid a GOP filibuster. Srinivasan, who played basketball in high school with Danny Manning while growing up in Lawrence, is the Obama administration’s principal deputy solicitor general and has been endorsed by the likes of Kenneth Starr. He had an uneventful hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Bernstein called the Srinivasan nomination the “moment of truth” for Obama’s nominations to the court, which is often seen as a stepping-stone to the Supreme Court. “If 41 or more Republicans simply will not vote for anyone to the left of John Roberts, the only option left to Democrats will be Senate rules reform,” Bernstein wrote. “On the other hand, if Srinivasan can be confirmed, Republican claims that they have objected only to specific nominees for specific reasons can be taken more seriously.”