Video: Kagan on Why Medical Group's Partial Birth Abortion Memo Would Be a "Disaster"
2:49 PM, Jun 30, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Senator Orrin Hatch questioned Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan this afternoon about Shannen Coffin's report that Kagan, as a policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, had altered a medical group's memo on partial-birth abortion, apparently for political reasons. At issue was a 1996 position paper by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), in which the group claimed that it “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.” Partial-birth abortion "may not be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman," ACOG wrote in its original statement (emphasis added). Kagan then apparently edited the word "not" out of the statement to make the statement more favorable for supporters of partial-birth abortion.
Under questioning by Hatch, Kagan said it appeared to be her handwriting but wouldn't directly admit that she edited the memo, as Byron York reports:
Kagan wrote in a different memo in 1996 that ACOG's original paper “would be a disaster.” Kagan said today that she only meant it would be a disaster "if the statement did not accurately reflect all of what ACOG thought," and any edits to ACOG's paper were only to clarify what it really meant.
Shannen Coffin casts doubt on Kagan's defense: