Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Former Deputy Ass't AG Accuses Kagan of Manipulating ACOG Statement on "Partial-Birth Abortion" Ban
National Review Online: Kagan’s Abortion Distortion, by Shannen W. Coffin:
When President Obama promised in his inaugural address to “restore science to its rightful place,” he never explained what that rightful place would be. Documents recently released in connection with the Supreme Court nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan suggest an answer: wherever it can best be used to skew political debate and judicial outcomes.
The documents involved date from the Clinton White House. They show Miss Kagan’s willingness to manipulate medical science to fit the Democratic party’s political agenda on the hot-button issue of abortion. As such, they reflect poorly on both the author and the president who nominated her to the Supreme Court.
There is no better example of this distortion of science than the language the United States Supreme Court cited in striking down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion in 2000. This language purported to come from a “select panel” of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a supposedly nonpartisan physicians’ group. . . .
See also: The Volokh Conspiracy: Kagan, ACOG and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, by Jonathan H. Adler.
A few comments on this story: As Adler points out in the addendum to his post, there is nothing in Coffin's accusation that suggests Kagan did anything wrong, even if she did propose language to ACOG. Moreover, with respect to ACOG's integrity, the edit attributed to Kagan is not inconsistent with the prior version of ACOG's statement, which, after all, had said that the organization's panel could identify no circumstance in which intact D&E were the only option to preserve a woman's life or health. By clarifying that intact D&E may be the best or most appropriate method in some circumstances, the edit did provide better support for ACOG's stated opposition to the ban. But that does not prove that ACOG was being disingenuous in adopting the edit or that the new language failed to reflect ACOG's belief.