AUL - Koop Urges Senators to Block Kagan



WASHINGTON, D.C. - (6/19/2010) - Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop wrote an open letter54-page report on Kagan and partial-birth abortion. Two major national media outlets have written about the Koop letter so far. urging that Senators vote against the nomination of Elena Kagan. Last week, AUL  Action released a

Excerpts from a USA Today blog post on this subject today at their On Politics blog:

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is urging a no vote on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in a letter that will be delivered today to senators who soon will be deciding to confirm her.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on sending President Obama's second Supreme Court nominee to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote.

In the letter, Koop accuses Kagan of lobbying successfully to change the language of a 1997 statement by American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists on a controversial procedure that critics call "partial-birth abortion."

Koop calls "unethical" and "disgraceful" Kagan's effort to convince the medical group to describe the procedure as medically necessary.

"She was willing to replace a medical statement with a political statement that was not supported by any existing medical data," writes Koop.


Charmaine Yoest, head of the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life, says her group will be on Capitol Hill today trying to call senator's attention to Koop's letter. Yoest says her group will be raising concerns about Kagan's "apparent willingness to distort the record" in order to obtain "the political outcome she wanted."

The abortion opponents are focusing on handwritten notes Kagan made on a draft of the doctors' policy statement when she was a top aide to then-president Bill Clinton.

When he questioned Kagan about the memo last month, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said her draft language played "an enormous role" in the debate over the controversial abortion procedure. "The Supreme Court relied on it," Hatch said, when the justices overruled a Nebraska law banning it. Kagan argued that her language did not change the ob-gyn group's position, but more accurately reflected it.

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire also wrote about the letter today:

In a letter released by the antiabortion group Americans United for Life, Koop attacks Kagan for her work in the Clinton administration on legislation banning partial-birth abortion procedures. According to records released by the Clinton Presidential Library, Kagan, now the solicitor general, had discussions with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a medical society, regarding their view of the procedure.

At her confirmation hearing earlier this month, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) observed the medical group had been planning to release a statement that it did not believe there were any situations where the partial-birth procedure was the only option for protecting a patient’s life or health. Kagan had written on an internal memorandum that “this, of course, would be a disaster.” The group later issued a statement saying that in some circumstances the procedure could be the best or most appropriate for a patient.

Koop, picking up from Hatch’s questions, construes Kagan as having “manipulated the medical policy statement on partial-birth abortion of a major medical organization.”

“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,” the 93-year-old Koop writes in his open letter addressed to the American people and the U.S. Senate. “I urge the Senate to reject the politicization of medical science and vote no on the Kagan nomination.”

A blog post with a copy of the Koop letter and links to these stories can be found here.


AUL Action is the legislative action arm of Americans United for Life