There is breaking news in the pro-life movement on Capitol Hill this week.
Yesterday, Monday, July 20, 2010, United States Senators found themselves being
strongly urged to vote against Soclicitor General Elena Kagan for confirmation in
appointment to the United States Supreme Court.
Kagan is 50 years old, a native of New York, and has served as the top Supreme Court Lawyer for the Obama administration since last year.
Doctor Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life joined others in
strong opposition to Kagan’s nomination in light of the fact that she has been
exposed as having played a key role in the rewriting of the “American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists” statement on Partial Birth Abortion while serving
in the Clinton Administration.
She is accused as having a lack of understanding of legal ethics, as well as showing
commitment to a radical anti-right to life agenda, neither of which, pro-life supporters
see as conducive to rightful or honored service in the United States Supreme Court.
Catholic Online reported that the highly esteemed, former Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, MD,
has joined forces with the AUL in support of their attempt to prevent Elena Kagan’s
The United States Senate Judiciary Committee will vote today, Tuesday, July 21, 2010 on whether or not to send Kagan’s nomination on to the full Senate for confirmation. The Democrats have a 12-7 advantage over Republicans and thus far, no Democrat seated has voiced opposition to Kagan’s nomination; but neither has any Republican expressed support.
Following is an open letter to the American public, written by former Surgeon General Koop,
which could have a significant impact and influence on the Judiciary Committee’s decision.
An Open Letter to the American People:
For many years, before, during and after my service as surgeon general of the United States, I’ve been known for presenting my unvarnished opinion on medical matters, regardless of the views of political parties or outside influences. The time has come for me to do so again.
I was deeply disturbed to learn the Elena Kagan, the nominee for Supreme Court scheduled for a Senate committee vote next week, manipulated the medical policy statement on partial-birth abortion of a major medical organization, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in January 1997.
The problem for me, as a physician, is that she was willing to replace a medical statement with a political statement that was not supported by any existing medical data. During the partial-birth abortion debate in the 1990s, medical evidence was of paramount importance.
Ms. Kagan’s amendment to the ACOG Policy Statement–that partial-birth abortion “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman”–had no basis in published medical studies or data. No published medical data supported her amendment in 1997, and none supports it today.
Indeed, there was, and is, no reliable medical data that partial-birth abortion is safe or safer than alternative medical procedures.
There are other medical options.
In my many decades of service as a medical doctor, I have never known of a case where partial-birth abortion was necessary in place of a more humane and ethical alternative. Not only have I never seen such a case, but I have never known of any physician who had to do a partial-birth abortion–nor have I ever met a physician who knew of anyone who had to perform one out of medical necessity. In fact, partial-birth abortion has risks of its own, and could injure a woman.
Medical science should not have been twisted in 1997 for political or legislative gains. Ms. Kagan’s political language, a direct result of the amendment she made to ACOG’s Policy Statement, made its way into American jurisprudence and misled federal courts for the next decade.
She misrepresented not only the science but also misrepresented her role in front of your elected representatives in the United States Senate.
This is unethical, and it is disgraceful, especially for one who would be tasked with being a measured and fair-minded judge.
Americans United for Life Action has released a thorough and comprehensive report on this matter, a report that provides substantive evidence of Ms. Kagan’s actions in this matter. I ask that Senators and the American people give this report their most serious consideration. I urge the Senate to reject the politization of medical science and vote no on the Kagan nomination.
C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D.
Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, 1981-89
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