October 01, 2020

Feinstein: Conservative Court Could Overturn Women’s Reproductive Freedoms

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

“President Trump said overturning Roe v. Wade is ‘possible’ with Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. We should believe him.

“Judge Barrett has been an outspoken critic of a woman’s right to choose, reportedly calling Roe v. Wade ‘barbaric.’ She has said as a judge, she would ignore precedent if it conflicted with her interpretation of the Constitution.

“Those statements, coupled with her record on the 7th Circuit, raise serious concerns about whether she would uphold the law.

“This is not what Americans want from their next Supreme Court justice. Support for Roe v. Wade remains consistently high with 66 percent of Americans saying they want the decision upheld, according to a poll conducted last week.

“Despite that broad support, women’s reproductive rights have been under assault for years. By narrow 5-4 decisions, the court twice has struck down extremely restrictive abortion laws in Louisiana and Texas that would have made it nearly impossible for women to receive reproductive care. Justice Ginsburg voted with the majority on both cases.

“The American people want a justice who will protect women’s reproductive rights or the protections of Roe v Wade. That’s why we should wait until after the inauguration to fill this vacancy.”

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.

  • Press reports indicate that Judge Barrett signed onto a 2006 letter by the anti-choice group St Joseph County Right to Life that 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.”
###