Instead of saying the medical group "could identify no circumstances under which this procedure [partial-birth abortion] ... would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman," as the statement did originally, Kagan changed it to read: "[Partial-birth abortion] may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman."
Kagan's maneuver was apparently crucial to preventing enactment of the ban on partial-birth abortion (which didn't happen until years later, under Pres. Bush).
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.This is one good reason, among many, for pro-lifers to oppose the confirmation of Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. (It turns out Kagan also tried to influence the position of the American Medical Association on partial-birth abortion, in order to bolster the Clinton administration's pro-partial-birth abortion position.)
Apparently scientific integrity only matters as long as it doesn't somehow infringe on abortion.
Read a detailed explanation of Kagan's abortion distortion here, and see responses to the recent questioning of Kagan on this issue here, here and here.