Reacting to Shannen Coffin’s article examining Elena Kagan’s role in drafting a politically important partial-birth abortion statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Yuval Levin writes:
What’s described in these memos is easily the most serious and flagrant violation of the boundary between scientific expertise and politics I have ever encountered. A White House official formulating a substantive policy position for a supposedly impartial physicians’ group, and a position at odds with what that group’s own policy committee had actually concluded? You have to wonder where all the defenders of science-those intrepid guardians of the freedom of inquiry who throughout the Bush years wailed about the supposed politicization of scientific research and expertise-are now. If the Bush White House (in which I served as a domestic policy staffer) had ever done anything even close to this it would have been declared a monumental scandal, and rightly so.
Apparently scientific integrity only matters as long as it doesn’t somehow infringe on abortion.
Given the memos Coffin provides in his article, it’s hard to see how Kagan could explain away her significant rewriting of the statement, which directly affected policy relating to partial-birth abortion. But maybe she can. A senator should give her the opportunity during the hearings.