Senator Tom Coburn, a great conservative (despite his crush on Nancy Pelosi), did some yeoman’s work today in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan:
I wish Coburn would have just let her keep on sputtering before expounding further on his point, but nevertheless we got all the information we need. The answer to his question is yes, but she knows she can’t dare say it out loud, otherwise she might end up like Helen Thomas.
Thought this would be the big outcome from today, but there’s some late-breaking news on the Kagan front from the gang at Power Line:
A key event in the politics of partial-birth abortion was a report by a “select panel” of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a supposedly nonpartisan physicians’ organization. That report included this statement, which the Supreme Court found highly persuasive in striking down Nebraska’s partial-birth abortion ban:
ACOG declared that the partial-birth-abortion procedure “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.” The Court relied on the ACOG statement as a key example of medical opinion supporting the abortion method.
Here is the shocking part: the ACOG report, as originally drafted, said almost exactly the opposite. The initial draft said that the ACOG panel “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.” That language horrified the rabidly pro-abortion Elena Kagan, then a deputy assistant to President Clinton for domestic policy. This is what Kagan wrote in a memo to her superiors in the Clinton White House:
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. It is unclear whether ACOG will issue the statement; even if it does not, there is obviously a chance that the draft will become public.
So Kagan took matters into her own hands: incredibly, she herself appears to have written the key language that eventually appeared in the ACOG report. Coffin writes:
So Kagan set about solving the problem. Her notes, produced by the White House to the Senate Judiciary Committee, show that she herself drafted the critical language hedging ACOG’s position. On a document [PDF] captioned “Suggested Options” — which she apparently faxed to the legislative director at ACOG — Kagan proposed that ACOG include the following language: “An intact D&X [the medical term for the procedure], however, may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.”
Kagan’s language was copied verbatim by the ACOG executive board into its final statement, where it then became one of the greatest evidentiary hurdles faced by Justice Department lawyers (of whom I was one) in defending the federal ban. (Kagan’s role was never disclosed to the courts.)
I’m not an abortion guy (for lack of a better term), but I do find this very troubling. Couple this with the news that Kagan may have lied to the Supreme Court in a 9/11 case and you may have enough to at least consider the possibility she could be in trouble.