Senate Confirms Pro-Abortion Activist Elena Kagan to Supreme Court
by Steven Ertelt
August 5, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate today approved President Barack Obama’s nomination of pro-abortion activist Elena Kagan to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Kagan joins four other justices who support unlimited abortions allowed under Roe v. Wade.
Senators voted 63-37 for Kagan, with Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson joining most Republicans in opposing Kagan’s confirmation.
The total for Kagan’s confirmation is one of the lowest levels of support for a Supreme Court nominee in a quarter century.
Five Republicans joined the rest of the Democrats in the Senate in supporting her nomination, including three who normally vote pro-life, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, and Dick Lugar of Indiana. Two pro-abortion GOP senators, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins of Maine, also voted for Kagan.
Reacting to the confirmation vote in the Senate, pro-life advocates predicted she would become one of the most ardent abortion advocates on the high court.
Elena Kagan will emerge as one of the Supreme Courts most agenda-driven, reliably pro-abortion Justices," Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest told LifeNews.com.
"It is deeply troubling that the Senate voted to confirm Ms. Kagan without fully investigating her role in manipulating medical evidence during the partial-birth abortion debate in 1996-97. The American people want fair and impartial judges, and Justice Kagans negative impact will be felt for decades to come," Yoest added.
Before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the confirmation process had become too political.
"I think the process has become much more political than it used to be but Senate Republicans didn’t set the standard," McConnell said. "Senate Democrats in their frustration and desire to thwart George W. Bush put us in the position that we’re in and it’s very hard for me to argue to my members that this new standard, having been established, you should ignore it.
"I wish we had a different approach. This approach makes the selecting of judges way more political than I think the founding fathers anticipated it would be. But, candidly, that’s where we are," he said.
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.
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