All but two (31 of 33) of Indiana's Republican state senators are urging Sens. Lugar and Bayh to oppose the nomination of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen for a senior position in the U.S. Department of Justice. It's hard to tell from news stories whether the senators are expressing a reasonable pro-life objection to a pro-choice candidate or being just this side of loony. All the stories mention the May 15 letter the senators sent to Bayh and Lugar, but the only line that gets quoted is the declaration that she "is more than simply pro-choice -- she is pro-choice in an extremely radical way." No examples are cited, and nobody is linking to the letter itself.
I did just a little searching and found the complete text at this conservative website. Everybody will have their own definitions of radical pro-life and radical pro-choice, but some of Johnsen's remarks seem squirm-worthy out there to me. For example, she said Sen. Hillary Clinton's call for policy changes to reduce the number of abortions was a "step in the wrong direction," and she has said abortion restrictions "reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers." And there is this:
Johnsen compared pregnancy to slavery. In 1989, she wrote “Statutes that curtail her abortion choice are disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state's asserted interest.” Dawn Johnsen, in a Supreme Court amicus brief she authored in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services
Pregnancy -- a woman's "physical service to the fetus" -- is like slavery? Whew. If that's not radical, nothing is.
But whether Johnsen should be able to serve in the Justice Department is another matter. Despite the provocative nature of her rhetoric, what it amounts to is that she's for abortion on demand. Like it or not, the law is closer to her view than to anti-abortion views. And she shares an approval of abortion with President Obama, who is seeking to appoint her. We elect somebody president, then don't allow him to nominate someone who shares his views? I don't think that's the way it works.