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Feb. 11, 2009
Column #1,433
Porn Attorney: #2 at Justice Department?

WASHINGTON - If David Ogden is confirmed as Deputy Attorney General, do not expect any rigorous enforcement of laws against child pornography, obscenity, partial birth abortion - or in favor of parental notification of minors seeking abortion.

For 25 years Ogden has represented such clients as Playboy, Penthouse and the ACLU, arguing against laws limiting pornography and abortion. For example, he opposed filters on library computers to protect children from Internet smut and successfully defended the right of pornographers to produce material with underage children.

Yet when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, he asserted, "I believe that child pornography laws are extremely important. Child pornography is abhorrent." 

He "apparently experienced a `Confirmation Conversion'" as he "abandoned the library of liberal views he spent his career advancing," quipped Brian Burch, President of Fidelis, a Catholic legal watchdog consortium.

Conservatives are mounting a fight against David Ogden that will be aided by the fact there is a Congressional recess next week, giving time to mobilize.  I attended last week's Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing of Ogden.  While Republicans asked good questions of the porn attorney, they did so with little passion.  Not one declared, "I can't vote for you." 

So this is an uphill fight.  But it is worth the fight.

"David Ogden is a hired gun from Playboy and the ACLU.  He can't run from his long record of opposing common sense laws protecting families, women and children," argues Burch. "The United States Senate has a responsibility to the American people to insure that Mr. Ordgen's full record is fully reviewed before any vote on his nomination."

President Obama says he wants to curb sexual trafficking in women and children and sexual exploitation of children, and reduce the number of abortions.

With a veteran pornography & abortion defense attorney as the Number Two man at Justice, the nation's top law enforcement agency?

"Who's next?" asks columnist Janet LaRue.

"Jack Kevorkian as Surgeon General?"

Consider Ogden's record on two cases.  He co-authored a 1987 brief for the American Psychological Association arguing that parental notification was an unconstitutional burden on 14-year-old girls seeking an abortion: 

"Empirical studies have found few differences between minors aged 14-18 and adults in their understanding of information and their ability to think of options and consequences," he argued.

Fortunately, dozens of states ignored his pro-abortion logic.  During the 1990s, even through pro-abortion Bill Clinton was in the White House, 27 states passed laws requiring abortion providers to obtain parental consent if a minor was seeking an abortion.  Another 32 states passed similar, less demanding parental involvement laws. 

With what result?  One of the early states with a parental involvement law was Minnesota, where abortions by teenagers fell by one-third.  National Right to Life reports that states with parental consent or notification laws had a teenage pregnancy rate 16 percent lower, and abortions of 15-19 year-olds dropped 25% compared to states without these laws. What's more, the overall U.S. teen birth rate fell by a third from 1991-2006.

If teen girls know that their parents will have to be informed, or consent to an abortion, fewer will become sexually active in the first place.

One problem is that increasingly available pornography sends the opposite message.  Dr. Jill Manning, author of "The Impact of Pornography on Women," saw a young teenage woman with a pink tank top that read "Future Porn Star."

That symbolizes how porn has degraded the culture, making it more daunting for young girls and sexually aggressive, even by them!

Yet David Ogden opposed porn filters for minors on behalf of the American Library Association, the Internet Protection Act of 2000, because it would impair "the ability of librarians to fulfill the purpose of public libraries - namely, assisting library patrons in their quest for information."

A recent study reports that teens spend 31 hours per week (4.5 hours per day!) on line - two hours of which are on hard core sites. No wonder, as Manning reports, "Adolescents are engaging in sexual intercourse earlier than previous generations."

With what result?  Some get addicted to obscenity.  From a fifth to a third of all web searches are for porn. One impact is shattered marriages, for example. At a 2002 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 62 percent said Internet porn was "a significant factor" in their divorces.

David Ogden is the last man who should be Deputy Attorney General.

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