In the fight over whether to confirm Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, traditional pro-lifers will focus on Sebelius's views on late term abortion and other legal restrictions.
Interestingly, pro-life Democrats have continued with an argument they began raising during the campaign: that what matters is not whether one supports legal restrictions but whether one reduces the number of abortions. Catholics United, a liberal pro-life group has launched a pre-emptive strike praising her for cutting the abortion rate by 10%.
Pro-life progressives pushed this line during the campaign, earning both the mockery of traditional pro-lifers and, apparently, the votes of some pro-lifers (a surprising number of whom voted for Obama.)
Here's the rub: abortion rates seem to be most influenced by economic factors. Abortions go up during hard economic time. That means the number of abortions will likely go up under Obama. If Democrats set up abortion reduction as the standard, what will they say if the numbers go up under Obama?
UPDATE: Abortion seems to be shaping up as a big element in the Sebelius fight.
(Originally posted at Steve Waldman's blog at Beliefnet.)