Elena Kagan Helped Keep Partial-Birth Abortion Legal Longer, Pro-Life Group Says
by Steven Ertelt
May 12, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — While mainstream media outlets misrepresent a legal memo Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan wrote during her tenure with the Clinton administration, a pro-life group says the reality is that Kagan’s memo helped ensure partial-birth abortions stayed legal six years longer.
At issue is a memorandum Kagan wrote to President Bill Clinton advising him to support a phony partial-birth abortion ban that actually prohibited no abortions.
The memo is presented by some as showing Kagan urging Clinton to support a late-term abortion ban, sponsored by pro-abortion ex-Sen. Tom Daschle.
But Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, asserts that the memo helped lawmakers vote for a fraudulent abortion ban and allow themselves political cover for opposing the override attempt on Clinton’s partial-birth abortion ban veto.
"The Daschle phony ban, which the Reed-Kagan memo endorses, had only one purpose, which was to provide political cover for pro-abortion senators who might otherwise feel compelled to vote to override President Clinton’s veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act," he tells LifeNews.com. "It was not a real ban, but a completely hollow political construct — all exception, no ban."
"The Daschle ploy served its political purpose, which was to provide enough of a smokescreen to prevent the Senate from overriding Clinton’s veto," Johnson continued.
In fact, although the Senate rejected the Daschle substitute 64-36 and then passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, 64-36, the latter vote was two short of the two-thirds majority needed to override Clinton’s vote.
When the actual override vote occurred on Sept. 18, 1998, the tally was the same — 64-36 — with 36 lawmakers able to tell their constituents they voted for an abortion ban (Daschle’s bill) that didn’t ban abortions.
Since it took several more years for Congress to pass an another partial-birth abortion ban that pro-life President George W. Bush could sign, Johnson credits Kagan with helping cause the delay.
"The memo shows that Elena Kagan can claim some credit for keeping partial-birth abortion legal for six extra years," he said.
Johnson also takes mainstream media outlets to task for misrepresenting the memo and the phony Daschle bill as some sort of compromise between pro-life advocates and pro-abortion lawmakers.
"The memo did not really reflect a substantive split between pro-abortion moderates and hard-liners, but rather, a minor tactical disagreement among hard-liners about the best way to prevent enactment of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act," Johnson told LifeNews.com.
He recalled that the Daschle proposal "would have allowed partial-birth abortions to continue with no limits whatever in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy — the disagreement was over whether to endorse a symbolic ‘ban’ on abortions sought for emotional health in the seventh, eighth, and ninth months."
"Thus, this was a disagreement among hardliners, who were united in their goal of preventing enactment of the real ban on partial-birth abortions — a bill that was supported by over 70 percent of the public," Johnson concluded.
Related web sites:
National Right to Life – https://www.nrlc.org
NRLC on Daschle – https://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/Daschle%20scissors%20ad.pdf
Petition Against Kagan – https://www.iopposekagan.com
Facebook: Stop Kagan
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