Elena Kagan on Abortion



Compromise on abortion if core rights & exceptions upheld

Some progressives worry that Elena Kagan would shift the Supreme Court to the right. Several Democrats on the Hill said they're confident that her background working in the Clinton and Obama administrations--and for left-leaning judges--means she'd be a strong liberal voice on the bench.

Some abortion-rights activists are worried about a memo Kagan authored in 1997 urging President Bill Clinton to support a compromise ban on late-term abortions to avoid a standoff with Republicans in Congress. But Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a leader in Congress for abortion rights, said that the compromise included an exception in cases where a mother's health was in danger. "That was definitely something that everybody had supported at that time," Boxer said.

Asked what gave her assurances that Kagan would uphold Roe v. Wade, Boxer said: "I have no reason to think anything else except that she would be a very strong supporter of privacy rights because everyone she worked for held that view."

Source: Politico.com, "Democrat's Democrat", on 2010 SCOTUS hearings , May 11, 2010

Health exceptions for partial-birth abortion ban

In a memo addressing a partial-birth abortion ban before Congress, Kagan urged President Bill Clinton to endorse the weaker of two proposed exceptions for the health of the mother. [Clinton ultimately vetoed the bill that was passed.]