Bush Nominates Samuel Alito
Planned Parenthood Statement on Latest Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll on Judge Samuel Alito and Women's Reproductive Rights
Confirmation Would Place Women's Health and Safety in Grave Danger
WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today called for the Senate to reject President Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
"Judge Alito would undermine basic reproductive rights, and Planned Parenthood will oppose his confirmation," said Karen Pearl, interim president of PPFA. "It is outrageous that President Bush would replace a moderate conservative like Justice O'Connor with a conservative hardliner. There is no room on the court for someone with a judicial philosophy that places at risk the rights, freedoms, and liberties that Americans hold dear."
Judge Alito was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey when the case was before the Third Circuit, voting to uphold Pennsylvania's spousal notification requirement. In callous disregard of battered women who would be affected by the statute, Alito wrote separately from the majority to express his support for the law, which would have required Pennsylvania women to notify their husbands prior to obtaining an abortion. The Supreme Court later ruled the spousal notification provision unconstitutional, holding that a state cannot give a man control over his wife, stating, "Women do not lose their constitutionally protected liberty when they marry."
In Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey v. Farmer, the Third Circuit was asked to rule on an abortion regulation that did not contain a valid health exception. Alito grudgingly applied the Supreme Court precedents in both Roe v. Wade and Stenberg v. Carhart to overturn the statute while refusing to endorse the reasoning of the Supreme Court in either case.
"Samuel Alito's record is deeply troubling to Americans, who overwhelmingly support a woman's right to choose," said Pearl. "His confirmation would radically transform the Supreme Court and create a direct threat to the health and safety of American women."
The Supreme Court's decision to hear Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood at the end of November spotlights the urgency of the threat to reproductive freedom. In this high-stakes case, the justices are expected to rule on whether a woman's health will remain the paramount concern in laws that restrict abortion access. The ruling may have an immediate impact on women's health across the nation and will determine whether a fundamental principle established in Roe v. Wade will remain the law of the land.