Supreme Court Upheld Hyde Amdt 30 Years Ago, Kagan Would Back Abortion $
by Steven Ertelt
June 30, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Thirty years ago today, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Harris v. McRae, resolving a four-year legal battle to ensure that Congress may prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding abortions. Now, pro-life advocates are concerned Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan would scrap the decision.
Harris v. McRae has prevented taxpayer-funded abortion under Medicaid for three decades, and established a legislative standard set by the Hyde Amendment. This narrow 5-4 decision has had a major impact on an issue upon which seven out of ten voters agree – public funds should not be used for abortion.
But with a debate over taxpayer funding of abortions taking center stage in the congressional battle over health care, abortion advocates showed their hand — they want the Hyde amendment removed.
They could find themselves with another ally on the Supreme Court if the Senate confirms Kagan’s nomination.
Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, told supporters in a speech last week, We won Harris v. McRae with one vote.
In a statement today, AUL expanded on that and said it worries what direction Kagan would take.
"Among those who opposed the decision were Justice John Paul Stevens, whose seat President Obama proposes to fill with Elena Kagan, and Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom Kagan clerked and has repeatedly singled out as someone she admires," the pro-life legal group said. "Marshall, an advocate of unrestricted abortion, thought that a judge should ‘do what [he] thinks is right and let the law catch up.’"
"Elena Kagan’s record as a pro-abortion political operative who has pre-judged the abortion issue clearly demonstrates that she would use her position as a judge to impose her extreme views upon the American people, rather than impartially interpreting the law," the group continued.
Yoest plans to raise this critical point when she testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, along with pro-life leader Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
Still, AUL hopes senators press the question in hearings today as Kagan faces more questions from the remaining senators on the panel.
"Today, with a full day of questioning ahead, Senators need to ask Elena Kagan what she thinks of Harris v. McRae. Will she respect this precedent or will she, like her hero Aharon Barak, "adapt the law to lifes changing needs?’" AUL asked.
In 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of certain federal tax dollars to pay for abortion.
Cora McRae challenged the Hyde Amendment, taking action against Patricia Harris, then Secretary of Health and Human Services. On June 30, 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the funding restrictions of the Hyde Amendment were constitutional.
Pro-life groups have described Elena Kagan as the stereotypical judicial activist and abortion advocate.
She clerked for pro-abortion Justice Thurgood Marshall, whom she lauded, and her writings dating back to her college days are filled with accolades for judges who took the law into their hands and twisted it for a desired outcome rather than relying on the people through their elected officials.
Kagan helped Bill Clinton defend his veto of a partial-birth abortion ban — the gruesome abortion procedure when a baby is birthed halfway and then jabbed in the head with medical scissors, killing him or her. She helped Clinton find political cover for his decision to keep those abortions legal.
Kagan went as far as advocating that the Clinton administration not only ignore but manipulate the opinion of a national medical group that said there was never any medical justification for killing unborn children halfway out of the birth canal.
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