WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate must investigate a "discrepancy" in Elena Kagan’s sworn testimony during the Supreme Court nominee’s Judiciary Committee hearing before taking further action on her nomination, a pro-life group said Thursday.
"The American people deserve to have all of the facts before their representatives consider a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court," Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest said in a message sent by e-mail to more than a quarter-million pro-life activists nationwide. "Evidence from Kagan’s time in the White House indicates that she may have been more involved in lobbying medical groups on partial-birth abortion than she admitted [Wednesday] under oath."
Yoest referred to memoranda Kagan wrote while a Clinton administration aide, evidently advising changes in scientific policy statements about partial-birth abortion by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA).
Kagan was questioned about those 1996 memos during Wednesday’s confirmation hearing by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who said he was "stunned by what appears to be a real politicization of science."
Dear Friend of Life,
There is a startling new development in the Kagan nomination. We now know that Elena Kagan appeared willing to lobby not one, but two medical organizations.
During her time in the Clinton Administration, Elena Kagan urged the President to oppose any meaningful restrictions on partial-birth abortion. She told President Clinton at the time that any real limitations on abortion were “unconstitutional.” In addition, it now appears that Kagan pushed her agenda one step further by lobbying two major medical organizations to publicly change their positions on partial-birth abortion.
In a June 15th legal memo from our sister organization, Americans United for Life, AUL attorneys raised additional concerns about Kagan’s apparent lobbying efforts to change the position of a major medical group – the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) – on partial birth abortion.
When Kagan found out in December 1996 that ACOG was considering a statement that its experts “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,” Kagan wrote a memo stating that this “of course would be [a] disaster.”
In other words, Elena Kagan knew that if ACOG’s scientific opinion became public, her argument that partial-birth abortion is necessary would be completely discredited.
Kagan intervened and drafted language to alter ACOG’s position.
Yesterday, Kagan was questioned about this by several Senators and admitted that the new language was in her handwriting.
“I’m really stunned by what appears to be a real politicization of science,” Senator Orrin Hatch said yesterday. “The political objective of keeping partial-birth abortion legal appears to have trumped what a medical organization originally wrote and left to its own scientific inquiry they had concluded.”
Kagan told Senator Hatch that “….there was no way in which I would have or could have intervened with ACOG, which is a respected body of physicians, to get it to change its medical views on the question.”
Evidence released yesterday by Americans United for Life attorneys, however, reveals that Kagan may have lobbied the American Medical Association (AMA) to change its position as well.
Kagan was concerned about an AMA policy that that there is no identified situation in which a partial-birth abortion is medically necessary. She acknowledged in an email recovered from the Clinton Library files that she was in a meeting “on whether the AMA policy can be reversed at its convention on June 23.” She stated that “We agreed to do a bit of thinking about whether we (in truth, HHS) could contribute to that effort.”
This cryptic and troubling email demands further explanation.
Kagan was so opposed to the passage of a ban on partial-birth abortion, she hoped that ACOG and the AMA would suppress or modify their views and, written evidence suggests, may have worked behind the scenes to make that happen.
Evidence from Kagan’s time in the White House indicates that she may have been more involved in lobbying medical groups on partial-birth abortion than she admitted yesterday under oath.
Kagan’s possible lobbying of medical organizations on its own is troubling, but the effect of this successful effort is even more startling.
Later, a federal judge in Nebraska relied on the ACOG policy statement to strike down the federal prohibition of partial-birth abortion. Shannen Coffin, a then-Justice Department attorney defending the federal ban related how the judge emphasized the “integrity of the process that led to” the statement, writing that, “neither ACOG nor the task force members conversed with other individuals or organizations . . . concerning the topics addressed.” Coffin recounted that, “Kagan’s role was never disclosed to the courts.”
Dr. Yoest is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee TODAY and will raise this all-important issue.
ACTION ALERT: Americans United for Life Action is calling for an immediate Senate investigation into the discrepancy between Kagan’s current characterization and what the written evidence indicates. All outstanding questions must be answered. The American people deserve to have all of the facts before their representatives consider a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.
Please CLICK HERE to contact your Senator immediately to call for an urgent Senate investigation.
Yours for Life,
Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Americans United for Life Action
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