Pro-life Indiana state legislators, concerned about the radical pro-choice stance of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen, sent the following letter regarding her Department of Justice nomination to U.S. Senators Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh of Indiana (read pdf of letter here).
Dear Senators Lugar and Bayh,
As you know, President Obama recently nominated Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen to the position of Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. In this position, Dawn Johnsen will determine the legal course of the entire government.
Johnsen’s past employment as legal director of the National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League and with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project clearly indicates her support of abortion on demand. However, our concern is that Johnsen is more than simply pro-choice — she is pro-choice in an extremely radical way, which is evidenced not only by her career but also by her harsh, sensationalizing rhetoric:
- Johnsen claimed that Senator Hillary Clinton’s call for policy changes to reduce the number of abortions was “a step in the wrong direction.” Dawn Johnsen in The Constitution in 2020
- Johnsen claimed that abortion restrictions “reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.” Dawn Johnsen in a Supreme Court amicus brief she authored in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
- Johnsen compared prolife advocates to the Ku Klux Klan: “The ‘terrorist’behavior of petitioners is remarkably similar to the conspiracy of violence and intimidation carried out by the Ku Klux Klan…” Dawn Johnsen, in a Supreme Court amicus brief she authored in Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic
- Johnsen compared pregnancy to slavery. In 1989, she wrote “Statutes that curtail her abortion choice are disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest.” Dawn Johnsen, in a Supreme Court amicus brief she authored in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
- Johnsen argued that the government should strip the Catholic Church and other religious denominations of their tax exempt status because of their prolife advocacy. United States Catholic Conference v. Abortion Rights Mobilization
- Johnsen was heavily involved in the authorship of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would repeal every state and federal restriction on abortion and further enshrine abortion as the law of the land.
- Johnsen wrote in a paper given to mark the 35th anniversary of the Roe v.Wade decision that the first priority of the progressive agenda was to “focus on the courts as the vehicle of desired change.” There is no room in the Justice Department for this kind of politicization.
If Johnsen can’t discern the differences between pregnancy — a safe and natural process that almost always happens within the confines of a mutual relationship — and something as terrible as slavery — a grievous evil that involved kidnapping, torture, and ongoing racist dehumanization — then our senators from Indiana should carefully weigh the implications of enabling Johnsen to take a role in government that demands the highest level of discernment and rational, impartial thinking.
Please carefully consider what Dawn Johnsen’s confirmation could mean for the future of this country. While we are often happy to see Indiana residents succeed and get greater recognition and influence on a national level, we simply don’t believe that the future of our nation — or the reputation of our state — will benefit from Johnsen’s leadership in such a prominent position.
As legislators representing voters from across the state who care deeply about the sanctity of life, we urge you to oppose this nomination.
Senator David Long, President Pro Tempore
Senator Sue Landske, Asst. Pro Tempore
Senator Connie Lawson, Majority Floor Leader
Senator Brent Steele, Asst. Majority Floor Leader
Senator James Merritt, Jr., Majority Caucus Chair
Senator Richard Bray, Asst. Majority Caucus Chair
Senator Gary Dillon, Asst. Majority Caucus Chair
Senator Brandt Hershman, Majority Whip
Senator Ryan Mishler, Asst. Majority Whip
Senator Greg Walker
Senator Johnny Nugent
Senator Ed Charbonneau
Senator Joseph Zakas
Senator Travis Holdman
Senator Patricia Miller
Senator James R. Buck
Senator Tom Wyss
Senator Carlin J. Yoder
Senator Allen Paul
Senator Jean Leising
Senator Beverly Gard
Senator Marlin Stutzman
Senator Luke Kenley
Senator Randy Head
Senator John Waterman
Senator Ron Alting
Senator R. Michael Young
Senator Dennis Kruse
Senator Brent Waltz
Senator Michael Delph
Senator Philip L. Boots