Roundup: Anti-Choice Attack Kagan, Hone Knives For Their Real Battle

Robin Marty

Kagan is in the cross-fire of the anti-choice crowd; and the argument over feminism continues.

They often say that in the summer, the days are longer and the tempers are shorter.  no where does that seem more obvious than in the upcoming preparation for Elena Kagan to be confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice. 

It seems like no one is happy — she’s not anti-abortion enough, she’s not pro-choice enough, she’s not open enough, she plays softball.  Anything anyone can find to hit on, they are hitting.  And, considering we haven’t even started the actual proceedings, you can’t help but wonder how bad it’s really going to get. 

USA Today claims that Kagan wants this to be a knock-down, drag out, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan, the woman President Obama has chosen to be the next Supreme Court justice, long ago laid down a marker for Senate confirmation hearings.

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They have become a “hollow charade,” a “ritual dance,” she wrote 15 years ago, complaining that such hearings no longer offered serious discussion of the Constitution. The public should learn something significant about a Supreme Court nominee, Kagan asserted, noting that the person is headed for a lifetime “seat of power and a public trust.”

As her own hearings begin Monday, the challenge for Kagan — a Manhattan native and former dean of Harvard Law School who has strategically climbed the legal ladder — will be to follow that ideal without sparking new criticism and derailing her nomination.

The stakes are high all around — for Kagan, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people.

So, who is making the most public noise?  Surprise!  It’s the anti-choice activists!

Lifenews has become the fountainhead of anti-choice anti-Kagan articles, making it easy to track the movements gameplay.  First, there’s the general “She should not be confirmed” route.

The National Right to Life Committee sent a letter today to members of the Senate expressing its strong opposition to the nomination of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. NRLC joins other pro-life groups in opposing Kagan and saying writings and documents from her during her time with the Obama and Clinton administrations point to aggressive abortion support and promotion.

After analyzing various memoranda and other material written by Kagan during her tenure on the White House staff of President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s, and her writings as a clerk to late pro-abortion Justice Thurgood Marshall, NRLC says Kagan should not be confirmed.

“Our conclusion is that Elena Kagan is first and foremost a social engineer, animated primarily by a desire to shape public policy on a host of issues,” NRLC wrote to senators. “Her legal training and talent is chiefly directed to these ends.”

The next branch of attack?  Our “experts” think she shouldn’t be confirmed, including failed  Supreme Court nominees!

Former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork held a conference call with officials from Americans United for Life on Wednesday to officially announce his opposition to President Barack Obama’s nominee Elena Kagan. 
Journalists from a variety of publications participated in the conference call because of Bork’s credentials and his status as a pro-life nominee who was the subject of considerable controversy.

And no, apparently Harriet Miers has not weighed in yet, but I’m sure you are as anxious as I am to hear her opinion, too.

Think all of that sounds bad?  Well, this is just warm up.  Just wait until Justice Kennedy retires from the court — that’s when we wil have the mother of all confirmation showdowns, according to the site.

At a forum on Tuesday night, pro-abortion former acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger predicted the Supreme Court will eventually overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed 52 million abortions in the United States and has impacted other nations across the world. Dellinger’s comments are surprising as most abortion advocates don’t readily admit the day may come that the infamous decision will be struck down and states may be able to offer legal protection for women and unborn children.

“I absolutely believe it,” Dellinger said during the forum cosponsored by the news web site Politico.

Dellinger said he thinks the Supreme Court will overturn Roe once pro-life advocates can find a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who sided with the majority of the court in upholding the ban on partial-birth abortions but will not side with the other four conservative jurists on overturning Roe.

He called the decision a “trophy” and said the other justices, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, would love to be able to go back on the 1973 decision.

“For a while I thought that one could simply chip away at a lot more and more regulations that sort of protected access (to abortions) for the most affluent women but really made it impossible for women who were vulnerable to geography, poverty (and) youth,” he added. “But now I think that, actually, it is such a symbol of a kind of jurisprudence that conservatives have set themselves in opposition to.”

Politico interviewed Rachel Brand, the former assistant attorney general under pro-life President George W. Bush, and helped with the confirmation of Justices Roberts and Alito, said the nomination battle over a replacement to Justice Anthony Kennedy will be monstrous.

“I will say that whenever Justice Kennedy retires, if the court looks anything like it does now in terms of makeup, that will be the mother of all confirmation fights. That will be brutal, and I wouldn’t want to be in my old job for that one,” he said.

Mini Roundup: Some are still arguing that you can be a feminist and anti-abortion. Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker claims a case can be made, but feminist icon Gloria Steinem says no way.

June 23, 2010

Study finds link in abuse, abortion  – UI The Daily Iowan

Steinem criticizes Palin for using feminist brand – Los Angeles Times

Abortion ‘could triple risk of breast cancer’  – Daily Mail

So Kendrick Meek is Suddenly Pro-Choice? – Firedoglake

How Not to Have Sex in Colorado: the Personhood Amendment – Huffington Post

G8 maternal health initiative draws flak –

Renowned Singer Andrea Bocelli Tells Abortion Story – Christian Post

AZ nun’s OK of abortion stirs global debate – Arizona Republic

Pro-Life Organization Tells Senators Oppose Pro-Abortion Elena Kagan on … –

Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Parker weigh in on feminism and abortion – True/Slant

Yarbro Hits Henry on Abortion, the Environment and Health Care – Nashville Scene

USCCB committee explains direct abortion, legitimate medical procedure – Catholic News Service

Former Supreme Court Pick Robert Bork Opposes Pro-Abortion Nominee Elena Kagan –

Pro-Life News: Roe v. Wade, Abortion, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgial … –

Chris Selley: Ask a stupid abortion question … – National Post

Study finds link to abortions and assaults by partners – Radio Iowa

Rubella may have shifted abortion views –

Jindal signs abortion regulation bill – CNBC

Sarah Palin, a Feminist?? –

Will Kagan be as open as she wanted others to be? – USA Today

On Pill Anniversary, Pro-Life Action League Encourages Confident Opposition to … – Christian News Wire

A birth control pill for men – Israel 21C

NJ Dems Push To Restore Family Planning Money – CBS 3

How an unholy alliance of Catholics, Mormons, and evangelicals seeks to … – The Phoenix

NJ Dems push to restore family planning money – BusinessWeek

Should the Pill Be Available Over the Counter? – The AtlanticWire

CDC wants HIV tests to be included in routine medical care – FierceHealthcare

An Opportunity for Obama to Take a Stand on Women’s Rights – Center For American Progress

Clinical Trials Investigate Potential Of Therapeutic Vaccines For People With HIV – The AIDS Beacon

Dr. Sonnet Ehlers Distributes Anti-Rape Condom for World Cup – Vitals Spotlight

Teenage girls may need two annual preventive health checkups – Los Angeles Times

FAQ: Achieving maternal and child health goals –

Use of Computer-Aided Mammography Soared After Mandated Medicare Coverage – Medscape

G8 summit success rides on maternal, child-health funding – Montreal Gazette

June 24, 2010

Pro Life Women Are Feminists Too – First Things

Anti-abortion activists gather in Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Dr. Angle’s prescription – Reno News & Review

Letter: Preventing abortion? Planned Parenthood promotes it – TCPalm

Allocate funds for maternal health, says agency – Daily Nation

NJ Gov. Eliminates Family Planning Funding From State Budget – Medical News Today

New campaigns on maternal, child mortality buoyed by progress –

Too little weight gain risky in twin pregnancy – Reuters

No quick fix for child poverty –

News Abortion

Study: United States a ‘Stark Outlier’ in Countries With Legal Abortion, Thanks to Hyde Amendment

Nicole Knight Shine

The study's lead author said the United States' public-funding restriction makes it a "stark outlier among countries where abortion is legal—especially among high-income nations."

The vast majority of countries pay for abortion care, making the United States a global outlier and putting it on par with the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and a handful of Balkan States, a new study in the journal Contraception finds.

A team of researchers conducted two rounds of surveys between 2011 and 2014 in 80 countries where abortion care is legal. They found that 59 countries, or 74 percent of those surveyed, either fully or partially cover terminations using public funding. The United States was one of only ten countries that limits federal funding for abortion care to exceptional cases, such as rape, incest, or life endangerment.

Among the 40 “high-income” countries included in the survey, 31 provided full or partial funding for abortion care—something the United States does not do.

Dr. Daniel Grossman, lead author and director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California (UC) San Francisco, said in a statement announcing the findings that this country’s public-funding restriction makes it a “stark outlier among countries where abortion is legal—especially among high-income nations.”

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The researchers call on policymakers to make affordable health care a priority.

The federal Hyde Amendment (first passed in 1976 and reauthorized every year thereafter) bans the use of federal dollars for abortion care, except for cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Seventeen states, as the researchers note, bridge this gap by spending state money on terminations for low-income residents. Of the 14.1 million women enrolled in Medicaid, fewer than half, or 6.7 million, live in states that cover abortion services with state funds.

This funding gap delays abortion care for some people with limited means, who need time to raise money for the procedure, researchers note.

As Jamila Taylor and Yamani Hernandez wrote last year for Rewire, “We have heard first-person accounts of low-income women selling their belongings, going hungry for weeks as they save up their grocery money, or risking eviction by using their rent money to pay for an abortion, because of the Hyde Amendment.”

Public insurance coverage of abortion remains controversial in the United States despite “evidence that cost may create a barrier to access,” the authors observe.

“Women in the US, including those with low incomes, should have access to the highest quality of care, including the full range of reproductive health services,” Grossman said in the statement. “This research indicates there is a global consensus that abortion care should be covered like other health care.”

Earlier research indicated that U.S. women attempting to self-induce abortion cited high cost as a reason.

The team of ANSIRH researchers and Ibis Reproductive Health uncovered a bit of good news, finding that some countries are loosening abortion laws and paying for the procedures.

“Uruguay, as well as Mexico City,” as co-author Kate Grindlay from Ibis Reproductive Health noted in a press release, “legalized abortion in the first trimester in the past decade, and in both cases the service is available free of charge in public hospitals or covered by national insurance.”

News Abortion

Exclusive: House GOP Budgets $1.2 Million for Anti-Choice ‘Witch Hunt’

Christine Grimaldi

The disclosure marks the first time Republicans have revealed how much taxpayer money they are spending on the investigation rooted in deceptively edited Center for Medical Progress videos.

Congressional Republicans investigating widely discredited claims about fetal tissue trafficking and abortion expect to spend $1.2 million on the anti-choice crusade by the end of the year.

The figure represents the so-called Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives’ total estimated budget for calendar year 2016, a high-ranking GOP aide in the U.S. House of Representatives told Rewire. The disclosure marks the first time Republicans have revealed how much taxpayer money they are spending on the investigation rooted in deceptively edited Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos, dubbed by Democratic legislators as a “witch hunt.”

Contrary to the anti-choice front group’s allegations, three prior congressional inquiries and 13 states to date have found no evidence that Planned Parenthood profited from fetal tissue donations.

Even as the aide revealed the scope of Republicans’ spending, more questions emerged about when and how they are getting taxpayer money.

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The Committee on House Administration has tapped nearly 80 percent of the chamber’s funding reserves, approving $790,000 for the investigation, split two-thirds and one-third between Republicans and Democrats. The committee initially transferred $300,000 to the panel in 2015, which was only for that year.

Excluding the 2015 transfer, the 2016 budget shortfall totals about $710,000. Including the transfer, about $410,000.

Republicans, however, anticipate a roughly $450,000 shortfall, according to the aide, who acknowledged that they have yet to figure out how they would make up the shortfall. Details about potential funding sources could not be immediately ascertained, though the aide said Republicans would have to produce the funding no later than December 1.

Several options exist for GOP lawmakers. Republicans could earmark the money in an increasingly likely continuing resolution, which would fund the overall U.S. government in the absence of viable appropriations bills. However, that would require U.S. Senate passage—hardly a guarantee with such a controversial rider, according to a House Democratic aide.

Republicans could amend the initial resolution creating the panel and bring it back to the floor, the Democratic aide told Rewire. Resolutions only require passage by one chamber, the aide said, providing a more failsafe option.

Another possibility is for Republicans to draw from the budget of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the panel.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the panel’s ranking member, denounced the investigation following the disclosure of taxpayer dollars behind it.

“Republicans continue to waste taxpayer dollars recycling inflammatory and thoroughly discredited allegations of anti-abortion extremists,” Schakowsky told  Rewire in an email. “The Select Panel started with a lie, and has been conducted to perpetuate that lie through manufactured, misleading ‘evidence’ and suppression of facts that run contrary to the Republicans’ predetermined narrative. It would be bad enough if this were just a waste of taxpayer time and money. But this Panel is putting women’s health care and life-saving research at risk. America deserves better. Speaker Ryan can and should stop this witch hunt now.”

In a July 14 interview with Rewire, Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), a once outspoken proponent of fetal tissue research, didn’t know how much, if any, committee funding has gone toward the select panel’s work. Upton referred Rewire to a committee spokesperson, who did not reply to requests for comment.

Select panel Chair Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) similarly could not answer Rewire’s funding inquiries at a July 14 press conference providing an interim update on the investigation a year after the release of the first CMP videos. Blackburn deferred to Republican leadership regarding how much financial support Energy and Commerce may have provided the panel beyond the House’s reserve coffers.

“At this point, that is what we have,” she said.

Republican leaders have been increasingly vocal in their support for the panel. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in June said he trusts Blackburn to conduct the anti-choice investigation, though researchers said she jeopardized their privacy, safety, and job security through unredacted documents. Ryan cited the need for the panel’s work in response to Rewire’s funding questions at his July 14 press conference.

“We want this committee to keep doing its job, doing its work, they have [a] very important job to do,” he said.

Ryan elaborated on his support for the panel in a subsequent video, “We Are the Pro-Life Generation.”

“The panel found these weren’t isolated incidents—there’s an entire black market in aborted baby body parts,” he said. “And some of it is receiving taxpayer funding.”

Blackburn and other Republicans on the panel have made numerous references to “baby body parts” despite the link between such rhetoric and escalating anti-choice violence.