Pro-Life Organization Tells Senators Oppose Pro-Abortion Elena Kagan on Supreme Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 23, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Organization Tells Senators Oppose Pro-Abortion Elena Kagan on Supreme Court

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 23
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The National Right to Life Committee sent a letter today to members of the Senate expressing its strong opposition to the nomination of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. NRLC joins other pro-life groups in opposing Kagan and saying writings and documents from her during her time with the Obama and Clinton administrations point to aggressive abortion support and promotion.

After analyzing various memoranda and other material written by Kagan during her tenure on the White House staff of President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s, and her writings as a clerk to late pro-abortion Justice Thurgood Marshall, NRLC says Kagan should not be confirmed.

"Our conclusion is that Elena Kagan is first and foremost a social engineer, animated primarily by a desire to shape public policy on a host of issues," NRLC wrote to senators. "Her legal training and talent is chiefly directed to these ends."

The letter notes Kagan is a judicial activist and points to her 1983 Oxford University thesis in which she said she believes that it "is not necessarily wrong or invalid" for appointed judges "to mold and steer the law in order to promote certain ethical values and achieve certain social ends."

"For one with such a view, a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court is the apex of power – a lifetime license to make law and reshape public policy by decree, on a wide range of issues, without any need to achieve the degree of consensus required in legislative bodies or the distracting requirement for periodic accountability to an electorate," the letter continues. "Thus, if she is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, we anticipate that Ms. Kagan often will ttreat the U.S. Constitution not as a body of basic law that truly constrains both legislators and judges, but rather, as a cookbook in which may be found legal recipes that will allow the imposition of the policies that Ms. Kagan deems to be justified or advisable."

On abortion specifically, the National Right to Life letter says the documents reveal Kagan "to have been a key strategist, perhaps the lead strategist" in getting Clinton to veto a ban on partial-birth abortions.

"The picture that emerges of Kagan is not that of a staffer who presented the President with objective information and disinterested analysis, but rather, a staffer who sometimes presented selective and tendentious information, and who employed a variety of legal and political arguments, to achieve her overriding goal of defeating the legislation," the letter says.

National Right to Life is particularly concerned about Kagan’s treatment of an opinion ACOG issued saying partial-birth abortions are never necessary to protect the life or health of the mother.

As has reported, Kagan appeared to ignore, if not manipulate, that opinion to allow Clinton to say that the three-day-long abortion procedure involving the partial-birth of a baby is somehow necessary to protect women’s health.

"Kagan was instrumental in providing President Clinton gravely distorted assertions regarding the frequency of partial-birth abortion and the reasons for which it was typically performed, although more accurate information had been published by a congressional committee and was readily available," NRLC notes.

In June, 1996, she described a private briefing from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in which she learned that "[i]n the vast majority of cases, selection of the partial birth procedure is not necessary to avert serious adverse consequences to a woman’s health . . . . there just aren’t many [circumstances] where use of the partial-birth abortion is the least risky, let alone the ‘necessary,’ approach." Although Kagan described this briefing as "a revelation," she also advised against immediately conveying its substance to the President.

Moreover, in December 1996, when Kagan obtained an ACOG draft for a proposed public statement that reported that "a select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which [the partial-birth] procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman," Ms. Kagan wrote that such a public statement "of course, would be disaster."

NRLC responds: "It appears that Ms. Kagan was dismayed not by the realities of partial-birth abortion, but by the prospect that public awareness of those realities would harm the White House efforts to prevent enactment of the ban. In addition, it appears that Ms. Kagan herself was probably the originator of diluting language that appeared in the final public statement approved and released by the ACOG Executive Board in January, 1997 – ostensibly as the judgment of top medical authorities."

NRLC also takes issue with Kagan urging Clinton to support the Daschle bill, legislation which the sponsor claimed would ban late-term abortions but would actually not ban any abortions because of health exception loopholes that were so large every pro-life group opposed the bill. Right to Life said the only goal of the Daschle bill was to provide more political cover for Clinton.

The pro-life group concludes: "The bottom line is that Ms. Kagan was instrumental in persuading President Clinton to endorse in 1997 an alternative proposal (the Daschle substitute) that was more protective of the practice of partial-birth abortion than the position which the President had embraced in 1996, but which also was sufficiently artful in its language to provide political "cover" for pro-abortion senators, and thereby to prevent the real ban from becoming law."

"Kagan played a key role in keeping the brutal partial-birth abortion method legal for an additional decade," the letter said.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life –


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