Pro-Life Groups Seek Probe on Kagan and Partial-Birth Abortion Before Vote

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

Pro-Life Groups Seek Probe on Kagan and Partial-Birth Abortion Before Vote

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 26
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — A coalition of 30 pro-life organizations sent a letter to members of the Senate today asking for a thorough investigation of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. They are calling for a probe into her comments about partial-birth abortion and say she may have misled lawmakers.

The concern centers on comments she made about her time as a top policy staffer in the Clinton administration.

Although she told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that she merely served at the pleasure of the president and tried to implement his policy vision, documents from her time there clearly showed her attempting to manipulate the opinion of two medical groups to make it appear partial-birth abortions are somehow necessary to protect women’s health.

The lobbying Kagan engaged in is important because it may have pressured Clinton to veto the proposed partial-birth abortion ban and it resulted in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists changing its opinion. The Supreme Court ultimately cited the Kagan-pressured opinion in its decision to overturn the partial-birth abortion bans of dozens of states.

“A nominee to the highest court in the land must meet our nation’s absolute highest standards of integrity and impartiality,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life Action and the main sponsor of the letter.

“With serious outstanding questions clouding Ms. Kagan’s nomination, we are leading a united effort to ask that the Senate investigate discrepancies between her Senate testimony and the written record on partial-birth abortion before proceeding to a floor vote," she told today.

Kagan claimed in her hearing "there was no way in which I would have or could have intervened with ACOG …. to get it to change its medical views on the question." Instead, she claimed she was trying to get ACOG to issue a statement that "accurately reflected the views" the organization had reportedly already expressed.

But the coalition letter says that conflicts with the account Kagan provided Clinton officials in a letter about her June 1996 meeting with ACOG.

Kagan wrote that the meeting was "something of a revelation" because ACOG officials informed her that, in the "vast majority of cases, selection of the partial-birth abortion procedure is not necessary to avert serious adverse consequences to a woman’s health."

By December, Kagan wrote a memo saying that if ACOG didn’t change its position it would be a "disaster" for Clinton, who went on to veto the partial-birth abortion ban claiming it was needed to protect women’s health.

She drafted a statement ACOG eventually adopted saying partial-birth abortions "may be the best or most appropriate in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman." That was the statement the Supreme Court eventually relied on to overturn state bans on the abortion procedure.

Kagan also sought to influence the American Medical Association and get the AMA to revise its opinion that partial-birth abortions provide no medical benefit for women.

Students for Life director Kirstan Hawkins, also a signer of the letter, remarked, “America does not need another activist justice on the Supreme Court, but rather one who respects the Constitution and individual rights, including those of the pre-born. Confirming Kagan could mean 30 more years of legalized abortion in the United States even though a majority of Americans are now pro-life.”

Earlier this month, AUL released a 54-page report examining Kagan’s role in manipulating the medical statements of the two groups,.

Later, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued an open letter to the Senate calling for Kagan’s nomination to be rejected and pointing to the AUL Action report as a resource on this critical issue.

Some of the pro-life leaders or groups signing on to the letter include: American Life League, Human Life International, Liberty Counsel, Life Issues Institute, Family Research Council, March for Life, Heartbeat International, Students for Life, Priests for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List. is also a signer of the coalition letter.

Related web sites:
Americans United for Life –
Letter –
Petition Against Kagan –
Facebook: Stop Kagan


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