Under questioning from Sen. Orrin Hatch – the first Republican to ask her about the American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists partial-birth abortion memo – Elena Kagan admitted her authorship of the memo.
“The document is certainly in my handwriting,” Kagan said, but then explained that she was merely trying to get ACOG to clarify their official statement to accurately reflect their own views. However, that explanation doesn’t seem to fit the actual content of her notes and memos:
“[White House staffer] Todd Stern just discovered that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Is thinking about issuing a statement (attached) that includes the following sentence: ‘[A] select panel convened by ACOG could identify no Circumstances under which [the partial-birth] Procedure … would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.’ This, of course, would be disaster – not the less so (in fact, the more so) because ACOG continues to oppose the legislation. … they may try, however, to do something that sounds even stricter. Daschle’s staff hopes that this proposal will provide cover for pro-choice Senators (who can be expected to support it) and that it will refocus the debate –from the partial-birth procedure to late-term abortions generally.”
— Elena Kagan, memo for Jack Quinn and Kathy Wallman, Dec. 14, 1996
Kagan then wrote to Kathy Bryant, ACOG’s associate director of government relations, suggesting that the language of the ACOG statement be changed to state that the procedure “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.” And when ACOG adopted the exact language Kagan had suggested, she sent a note to her bosses saying the statement “turned out a ton better than expected” (underlined in her original handwriting).
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air says Kagan’s actions “call into question Kagan’s ability to be independent and her judgment as a potential jurist.” Senate Republican sources tell Human Events that further questioning on the ACOG memo can be expected later today, and pro-life sources say that Kagan’s work on the memo raises serious legal issues.
The Judiciary Committee just recessed for lunch and is expected to re-convene about 2:10 p.m.