President Barack Obama’s nomination of Dawn Johnsen as assistant attorney general for the White House Office of Legal Counsel is raising concerns from conservatives over her support for abortion rights and adamant pro-abortion views.
At least 45 House Republicans have co-signed a letter to Obama in opposition to her nomination, the Web site of the House Republican Conference states. "Her brazen pro-abortion stances [include] a Supreme Court amicus brief where she equated forced pregnancy with 'involuntary servitude.'"
Johnsen, a professor at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, has stated in the past that abortion restrictions “reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers,” Townhall.com reports.
Republicans have made it clear they're opposed to the nomination of Johnsen, who wrote in a 1989 brief to the Supreme Court (Webster v. Reproductive Health Services) that “while a woman might choose to bear children gladly and voluntarily, statutes that curtail [a woman's] 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.”
Johnsen, then legal director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), has also said: “[We] should oppose inaccurate and incomplete abstinence-only sex education and other treatments of sexuality issues that instill negative attitudes about sexuality itself.”
Johnsen has been part of the Washington legal scene for more than two decades, having served as former President Bill Clinton’s acting assistant attorney general and as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. She serves on the board of directors of the American Constitution Society, and has worked for NARAL and the American Civil Liberties Union.
If her nomination is confirmed, Johnsen will work directly with Obama on executive branch and national security legal affairs.
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