Obama’s surgeon general pick: a Catholic who backs abortion rights

President Barack Obama’s nominee for surgeon general is a Catholic best known for founding an Alabama clinic that treats the poor, but her lesser-known support for abortion rights puts her at odds with her church and some of the groups that have praised her work. Regina Benjamin’s Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic doesn’t perform abortions. A clinic employee who declined to be identified said by telephone that patients seeking information about abortions would be referred to providers in the state. But White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said Benjamin “supports the president’s position on reproductive health issues.” Obama supports abortion rights and public funding of contraception and sex education.