Ben Nelson Becomes First Democrat to Oppose Pro-Abortion Elena Kagan
by Steven Ertelt
August 2, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Late last week, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson became the first Democrat to jump ship from his party and announce he would oppose the nomination of pro-abortion activist Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Nelson, who typically votes pro-life, joins most Republicans who plan on voting against Kagan.
Like Republicans, Nelson said he finds Kagan has little judicial experience and would become an activist if confirmed for the nation’s highest court.
"I have heard concerns from Nebraskans regarding Ms. Kagan, and her lack of a judicial record makes it difficult for me to discount the concerns raised by Nebraskans, or to reach a level of comfort that these concerns are unfounded," he said in a statement.
"Therefore, I will not vote to confirm Ms. Kagans nomination," Nelson said.
Nelson’s vote adds to the tally of votes against Kagan, but his statement made it even more clear that a filibuster would likely not be attempted against her nomination and that one would not succeed if launched.
As a member of the bipartisan Gang of 14, I will follow our agreement that judicial nominees should be filibustered only under extraordinary circumstances," Nelson said. "If a cloture vote is held on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, I am prepared to vote for cloture and oppose a filibuster because, in my view, this nominee deserves an up or down vote in the Senate."
The vote on Kagan is expected to take place this week — possibly on Thursday — and debate is likely to begin on Tuesday or Wednesday.
At this point, just five Republicans have indicated they will support the abortion advocate, including two senators who typically vote pro-life: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, and Dick Lugar of Indiana. They are joined by pro-abortion Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine.
"Kagan and I may have different political philosophies, but I believe that the confirmation process should be based on qualifications, not ideological litmus tests or political affiliation. I will vote for her confirmation," Gregg said recently.
During the committee hearings, pro-life groups say Kagan was not forthright when she downplayed the extent to which she lobbied two medical organizations to change their opinion on when partial-birth abortions are medically necessary.
Kagan’s lobbying resulted in the Supreme Court, in a case striking down state partial-birth abortion bans, eventually relying on the opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that, after Kagan’s prodding, changed its opinion to say some abortions may be medically indicated.
Yet, during the confirmation hearings, Kagan dismissed questions about memos she wrote during the Clinton administration, saying "My only dealings with ACOG were about talking with them about how to ensure that their statement expressed their views."
A coalition of pro-life groups has issued a letter to senators asking for a thorough investigation of Kagan and calling for a probe into her comments about partial-birth abortion.
A nominee to the highest court in the land must meet our nations 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. Kagans 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 LifeNews.com 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.
Earlier this month, AUL released a 54-page report examining Kagans 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 Kagans nomination to be rejected and pointing to the AUL Action report as a resource on this critical issue.
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.
ACTION: Contact your senators here and urge a no vote on Kagan’s nomination and tell them to filibuster her.
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.