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Nominee’s Wife Performed Abortions During Residency

November 1, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The wife of Supreme Court nominee Douglas H. Ginsburg performed abortions during her medical training at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, spokesmen for the Justice Department and the judge said Saturday.

Ginsburg’s wife, Dr. Hallee Perkins Morgan, performed abortions during her first year of residency in 1979-80, and agreed to assist with one particularly difficult abortion in her next year of training, but has performed none since then, said Justice Department spokesman Terry Eastland.

As a result, ″she, like a number of doctors who have performed abortions, from her own experience, became persuaded that she did not want to do that anymore,″ Eastland added.

He said he did not know if Morgan opposes abortion in general.

Washington attorney W. Stephen Cannon, an unofficial spokesman for Ginsburg, also confirmed Saturday that Morgan had performed abortions ″during her first year of residency as part of her training.″

The Wilmington (Del.) Sunday News Journal first reported that Morgan had performed abortions.

Eastland and Cannon said they didn’t know Ginsburg’s views on abortion.

Ginsburg was divorced from his first wife in September 1980 and married Morgan in May 1981. The couple has a 2-year-old daughter, named Hallee Katherine Morgan.

Eastland, who said he believes Morgan currently is a full-time mother and not practicing medicine, stressed that she performed the abortions before she had met Ginsburg and that her medical experience was irrelevant to the nominee’s qualifications for the Supreme Court.

″Let’s bear in mind that the nominee is Doug Ginsburg, not Hallee,″ Eastland said. ″Certainly a professional woman can have her own view on a matter and one should distinguish those from the husband’s.″

Eastland also noted that for President Reagan, who is a staunch opponent of abortion, ″what a particular judge might think about social policy, what his particular views might be ... are beside the point.″

″What the president seeks is, rather, someone who will interpret the law as it is written and not put into the law his own personal political views or .. moral views,″ Eastland said. ″That is why it’s important to keep that distinction in mind.″

Eastland said he doubted Morgan’s medical experience would become an issue as the Senate debates whether to confirm Ginsburg’s nomination.

″I don’t think it will (become an issue) nor do I think it should,″ Eastland said.

Ginsburg, a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was nominated Thursday to replace retired Justice Lewis Powell less than a week after the Senate rejected the nomination of Robert H. Bork.

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