NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Sen. Joe Donnelly should ignore left’s ‘fake news’ about abortion and confirm Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

We warned you that last week’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would be a knock-down, drag-out fight.

As The Associated Press reported, “From the moment that the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman gaveled in the first session, the proceedings were tumultuous, disrupted first by Democratic senators objecting to the rules and then by protesters shouting ‘Sham president, sham vote’ and other chants.”

The bedlam perpetrated by the Democrats and their supporters was orchestrated from the beginning to do whatever it takes — and apparently to say whatever it takes — to block Kavanaugh from the court, no matter what. Their objections to his nomination stem, in part, from his strong record of supporting abortion restrictions and protecting religious liberties.

Sen. minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plotted strategy prior to the hearings in a conference call with his fellow party members, where they determined to launch a barrage of questions, protest and disruption over the four days.

Republicans should be able to capitalize on what they called a political “circus,” where Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., hurled questions at Kavanaugh in what many think were performances setting the stage for their own presidential primary campaigns. But what was icing on the cake was the grilling of the 53-year-old U.S. Court of Appeals judge by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who stated, “In the 1950s and 60s, the two decades before Roe, deaths from illegal abortions in this country ran between 200,000 and 1.2 million. That’s according to the Guttmacher Institute.

“So, a lot of women died in that period,” said Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, adding later, “… I don’t want to go back to those death tolls in this country.”

Trouble is, her statement was “fake news.” And it was made by the woman who last November threatened executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google during a congressional hearing, saying if they don’t do more to stop the spread of fake news, “we will.”

The Guttmacher Institute’s 2003 report actually concluded that the number of illegal abortions performed each year during the 20 years before Roe vs. Wade was between 200,000 and 1.2 million. The actual number of deaths from those procedures, Guttmacher says, was about 300 in 1950 and was down to about 200 in 1965.

A Feinstein spokeswoman told USA Today the statistic was written incorrectly in the senator’s question. But Feinstein stressed her vastly inaccurate statistics repeatedly: If the court were to reverse Roe vs. Wade, more than 1 million women will die each year from unsafe abortions.

It’s truly troubling that senators can throw false statistics into the fray along with other over-the-top accusations and insinuations in their attempt to prevent an experienced and highly qualified federal judge from an opportunity to serve on the highest court in the land. But it was encouraging that both The Associated Press and USA Today reported that Feinstein’s statistics were “vastly overstated” and “dramatically exaggerated.” They did their job in exposing Feinstein’s “fake news.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a committee vote on Kavanaugh for Thursday. Democrats are likely to exercise their procedural right to delay that by at least a week. A full Senate confirmation vote is expected the week of Sept. 24.

We urge Indiana’s Democratic senator, Joe Donnelly, to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.