Media, Pro-Abortion Groups Promote Obama Legal Counsel Pick Dawn Johnsen

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 6, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Media, Pro-Abortion Groups Promote Obama Legal Counsel Pick Dawn Johnsen

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 6
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Dawn Johnsen’s abortion views are so far outside the mainstream that she has called women "fetal containers" and compared pregnancy with slavery. Yet the mainstream media is propping up Johnsen as an everday American who is coming under unfair attacks from pro-life advocates.

Johnsen would become the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Legal Counsel if the Senate confirms her nomination.

IN a Monday article, the Associated Press says Johnsen’s "friends and family" wonders how "someone they know as a soft-spoken mother of two boys has become the target of critics."

AP acknowledges that Johnsen has received criticism for serving as the legal director of NARAL from 1988-1993.

But it promotes Johnsen as a small-town woman who didn’t know anyone when she moved to Bloomington, Indiana to become a law professor and says friends call her "low-key and modest."

The news agency quotes a friend who calls her "unassuming" and says she is a good person because she goes to a local gym and wears old t-shirts.

Meanwhile, in an email to its supporters today, NARAL pulls out all the stops in building up Johnsen and urging abortion advocates to contact the Senate on her behalf.

"Right-wing news magazines, the grassroots of the anti-choice movement, and even anti-choice elected officials are launching outrageous attacks" on Johnsen, NARAL president Nancy Keenan complains. "She’s being attacked by anti-choice senators simply because she’s pro-choice."

Keenan also gripes that some pro-life lawmakers are considering filibustering her nomination — something she calls "guerilla warfare."

"The use of the ‘f’ word — filibuster — when referring to any of these nominees is unacceptable. We won’t let this threat go unanswered. We must make it clear to our senators that derailing nominees for critical positions in the Obama administration and in the federal courts is not an option," Keenan says.

What AP didn’t report and what Keenan didn’t mention in her email is just how extreme Johnsen’s abortion views are compared to those of most Americans.

In a 1989 brief filed in the Supreme Court in the Webster case, Johnsen said that any restriction that makes abortion less accessible is, in her view, tantamount to “involuntary servitude” because it “requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest [in the life of the unborn].”

In effect, a woman “is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends.” Such “forced pregnancy,” she contends, violates the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibits slavery.

After she worked with NARAL, Johnsen served in the Clinton administration as the Acting Assistant Attorney General heading the Office of Legal Counsel from 1997-1998 and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 1993-1996. She also served on the Clinton transition team in 1992.

Wendy Wright, the head of Concerned Women for America, told that Obama’s selection reveals a lot about his pro-abortion views and that Johnsen should be disqualified because of her work with a leading abortion advocacy group.

“NARAL’s obsession with abortion skews its legal positions, blinding it to the Constitution’s equal protection for all human beings," she said. "The fact that Ms. Johnsen worked for NARAL is a huge black mark against her judgment and exposes her bias."

"Americans will not be able to trust that Department of Justice’s legal opinions or Obama’s executive orders comply with the Constitution when the lead person for making that judgment is incapable of treating all human beings with respect," she added.

ACTION: Contact members of the Senate at and urge strong opposition to Johnsen’s appointment.

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