NARAL Pushing Senate to Confirm Pro-Abortion Obama Pick Dawn Johnsen

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 26, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

NARAL Pushing Senate to Confirm Pro-Abortion Obama Pick Dawn Johnsen

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 26
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The never ending battle over pro-abortion Obama nominee Dawn Johnsen continues. Despite the victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, President Barack Obama re-nominated Johnsen and the pro-abortion activist group NARAL today is calling on its members to urge support for her.

Johnsen is the radical abortion advocate Obama nominated to a key Justice Department position.

A law professor at Indiana University and former NARAL attorney, Obama tapped Johnsen to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

The election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts was thought to be the death knell for her nomination because it would again give opponents enough votes to uphold a filibuster against her — but Obama renominated Johnsen anyway.

Now, NARAL is calling on its members to work overtime to get members of the Senate to support the nomination of its former legal counsel.

"Anti-choice senators used every trick in the book last year to block President Obama’s nomination of Dawn Johnsen – former legal director at NARAL Pro-Choice America – to a post at the Justice Department," NARAL president Nancy Keenan said today in an email obtained.

"But the president isn’t giving up – and neither are we," she said.

Keenan said "Obama renominated Johnsen, sending a strong message to right-wing senators that it’s time to end their stall tactics."

She complained that Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska renewed his opposition to Johnsen’s nomination.

Republican lawmakers had opposed Johnsen over her rabidly pro-abortion position and because of other political issues, such as terrorism. With Brown making a strong anti-terrorism platform a part of his campaign, political observers suggest Johnsen’s nomination will face tough prospects.

Johnsen originally found herself the subject of a Republican filibuster supported by a couple of Democrats, but when pro-abortion Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter caved in to a Democratic primary opponent and flip-flopped to supporting her, the Obama administration signaled she would be renominated.

In comments to Roll Call after Brown defeated pro-abortion activist Martha Coakley, Nelson said he didn’t think Johnsen’s nomination stood much of a chance now. He previously cited her pro-abortion record as a reason for opposing her.

Johnsen had been delayed by Republicans who oppose her because she is strongly pro-abortion — going as far as saying pregnant women are subjected to a form of slavery — and because of other political reasons.

Senator Dick Lugar, an Indiana Republican who mostly votes pro-life, is also supporting Johnsen and may be the only Republican to do so.

If confirmed, Johnsen would be in charge of the office that formulates the attorney general’s formal opinions and provides counsel on the thorniest legal questions.

In a brief filed when she was a lawyer with NARAL, Johnsen cited a footnote that said forcing women to bear children was "disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the 13th Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest."

Johnsen told lawmakers at her hearing that she merely suggested an analogy in the footnote and "never believed the 13th Amendment had any role" in the abortion issue.

The pro-abortion activist has come under fire for calling women "fetal containers" and comparing pregnancy with slavery. She has also come under fire for labeling pregnant women "losers in the contraceptive lottery" and comparing pro-lifers to the Klu Klux Klan.

Johnsen was the Legal Director for NARAL from 1988-1993. After that, she 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.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Johnsen last February, where she received a party-line 11-7 vote in favor of moving her nomination to the full Senate.

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