Kagan Asked About Memo Manipulating ACOG Statement on Partial-Birth Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
June 30, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan faced questions today about a memorandum she wrote during her time in the Clinton administration. The memo has Kagan altering the opinion of a major medical organization on partial-birth abortion, which it said was never medically necessary.
The memo is particularly concerning because it has her changing the opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which said it found no medical reason for a woman to have a partial-birth abortion.
At the time, ACOG said an expert panel it commissioned could find no medical reason why the partial-birth abortion procedure would ever be used to protect a woman’s life or health.
It produced a paper confirming ACOG could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.
That opinion did not persuade President Bill Clinton to sign a ban on the three-day-long abortion procedure that involves the partial birth of an unborn child and the gruesome destruction of the baby’s life by jabbing medical scissors into its skull unless it contained a health exception for women.
The memo says the ACOG statement would be a "disaster" for the Clinton administration, which falsely maintained there were supposedly some circumstances in which partial-birth abortions are medically necessary.
This, of course, would be disaster — not the less so (in fact, the more so) because ACOG continues to oppose the legislation, Kagan said of the inability to discern a medical reason for the second-trimester abortion procedure.
Kagan also appears to suggest manipulating ACOG’s statement to support Clinton’s position.
Notes in Kagans handwriting list suggested options for modifying the ACOG position statement including having the Clinton administration claiming a partial-birth abortion "may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman."
That language made its way into the final version of the ACOG statement released about the ban along with the original language found by the panel of medical experts.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah asked Kagan about the controversial memo, which is drawing national attention because of the seriousness of the charges of Kagan altering or pressuring ACOG’s opinion.
"With respect, I don’t think that that’s what happened," Kagan responded, and initially appeared to not know which memo to which Hatch was referring.
She eventually admitted, "The document is certainly in my handwriting."
Hatch continued to press Kagan about the document, and she ultimately told Hatch she didn’t think she had the power to alter ACOG’s statement: "there was no way I could have or would have intervened" in ACOG drawing up its own opinion.
Kagan said she wrote the memo to present the "most accurate understanding" of what ACOG thought about partial birth abortion and said ACOG’s original statement didn’t represent the totality of what it thought about partial-birth abortion as originally expressed to the Clinton administration.
"President Clinton had strong views on this issue. We tried over the course of the period of time when this statute was being considered to get him absolutely the best medical evidence on this subject possible," she said. "There was conflicting evidence and we tried to do our best to bring all the conflicting views to his attention."
Kagan argued that ACOG "had an interest in this statue and had views about this statute" and that the group thought the partial-birth abortion procedure would sometimes be the best option for women in certain medical cases.
"They could think of circumstances in which it was the best or most appropriate procedure and that it was the procedure with the least risk" for women’s health. "We informed President Clinton of that fact and there did come a time when we saw a draft statement and I had some discussion with ACOG about that draft."
"I recall generally talking to ACOG about that statement and about whether that statement was consistent with the views we knew they had," she said to explain away the criticism.
Hatch told Kagan the memo caused him serious concerns — that he was "bothered" and "troubled" by Kagan’s decision to try to pressure ACOG.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a prol-ife South Carolina lawmaker, also questioned Kagan on the memo.
"I certainly have an agenda when it comes to this issue," Graham said. "It is okay, as an advocate, to have an agenda."
But Graham said he was "disturbed" to hear Kagan claim she had no agenda when she was advising Clinton and attempted to manipulate medical opinion on partial-birth abortions.
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.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.