October 21, 2020

Feinstein: Barrett Hearings Confirmed Reproductive Rights Fears

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s remarks on reproductive rights during her nomination hearing:

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett would give conservatives the votes necessary on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and end women’s hard-fought right to make their own reproductive health decisions.

“President Trump said he would appoint judges who would overturn Roe. It’s clear that Judge Barrett passes that litmus test.

“She previously said that a judge may ignore precedents she disagrees with. During her hearing, Judge Barrett refused to say whether Roe or another landmark abortion case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, were settled law – a sharp departure from even recent justices nominated by Republican presidents. Judge Barrett also testified that Roe is not a superprecedent of the Supreme Court – another departure from other Republican-appointed justices.

“She mischaracterized her 7th Circuit Court ruling upholding a ‘buffer zone’ at an abortion clinic, failing to mention that in her opinion she wanted the Supreme Court to overturn the clinic’s buffer zone. She even wouldn’t say if she thinks IVF treatments are manslaughter or if they are constitutionally protected.

“These views are far outside of the judicial mainstream and should disqualify Judge Barrett from being confirmed to the Supreme Court. The American people want a justice who will protect their rights, not one that will strip them away.”

Background:

  • The majority of Americans (66%-29%) do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a NBC News and SurveyMonkey poll this week.

  • The majority of Americans (57%-38%) want this Supreme Court vacancy filled by the next president, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.

  • During Judge Barrett’s hearing, Crystal Good, who at age 16 was forced to fight for her right to an abortion said access to an abortion “should not depend in any shape, form, or fashion on who our governor is or who is sitting on the Supreme Court.”

  • Judge Barrett didn’t disclose a 2006 letter by the anti-choice group St Joseph County Right to Life that she signed. The letter said “It’s time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade.”

  • Before her appointment to the 7th Circuit, Judge Barrett downplayed the effects of overturning Roe v. Wade in a 2013 speech, saying “the states and Congress would be free to ban, protect, or regulate abortion as they saw fit.”

  • Judge Barrett has made it clear she would ignore precedents with which she disagrees. In a 2013, she wrote it’s ‘more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it.’

  • Since joining the 7th Circuit, Judge Barrett has joined several opinions that make clear her opposition to women’s reproductive freedoms:

    • In 2019, she joined an opinion in Price v. City of Chicago that said the Supreme Court should reconsider the legality of abortion clinic buffer zones, which protect the safety of women and physicians.

    • In 2018, she joined a dissent in Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky, Inc. v. Comm’r of Indiana State Dep’t of Health that advanced the false narrative that abortion is used to promote eugenics.

    • In 2018, she joined a dissent in Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky, Inc. v. Adams that questioned whether courts can strike down abortion restrictions before they take effect, incorrectly characterizing this area of law as “unsettled.”
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