Monday, June 21, 2010

President Clinton says Elena Kagan played a role in his decision to veto partial-birth abortion bans

In a phone interview with the New York Times, President Clinton noted that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan helped persuade him to veto Congressional bans on partial-birth abortion. Clinton claims that both he and Kagan believed partial-birth abortions were medically necessary despite the overwhelming evidence and testimony against such claims. Clinton also says he might have signed the ban if his advisors (including Kagan) thought it was a “close call” on whether the legislation was constitutional or not. His advisors (including Kagan) thought the partial-birth abortion ban was unconstitutional because it didn’t have an exception for the health of the mother. Such an exception would allow any abortion because of how “health” is so broadly defined by the Supreme Court with regards to abortion.

From the article:
One such instance, he said, was his decision to twice veto legislation written by Republicans to outlaw the procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion. Mr. Clinton said the fight over banning a procedure that he himself opposed was very intense as Republicans sought to build a case for coming elections.

He said he might have been inclined to sign the measure had advisers found it to be a “close call” on whether it was constitutional and did not require an exception for cases where the health of the mother was at risk — a main point of contention.

But he said his view was bolstered by internal legal opinions that said the Republican measure was flawed without an exception for the health of the mother. His decision to veto the measure was driven home at a White House news conference, he said, when five women spoke agonizingly about undergoing the procedure because of serious risks to themselves and their fetuses.

“The truth is, for a very small percentage of women with a problem it was medically necessary,” Mr. Clinton said. “At least that is what I thought and that is what she thought.”
Over and over again medical experts have testified that partial-birth abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life or health.