Elena Kagan Abortion Memo Offers New Look at Nominee

In the 1997 memo, Kagan encourages the president to support the Daschle amendment even though some abortion-rights groups -- which she calls "choice groups" -- opposed the proposal. Kagan writes that the groups "argue that the stringency of Daschle's health exception -- including its limitation to cases of physical harm -- undermines the comprehensive protections announced in Roe regarding the health of the woman. "

Kagan notes further that both the Office of Legal Counsel and the Justice Department believed at the time that the amendment violated the landmark Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade because it would countenance "tradeoffs involving women's health."

In the end, the strategy was a correct political calculation for the administration. Clinton voted for the Daschle amendment and it went down in defeat. But Clinton then vetoed the Republican legislation and Congress was unable to override his veto.

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