Role of Chief Justice Too Important for a Nominee Who Has Not Expressed Support for Women's Health and Safety
WASHINGTON, DC — Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), issued the following statement on Monday's announcement by President Bush of the nomination of Judge John Roberts to chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Planned Parenthood extends its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Chief Justice William Rehnquist who served the court with distinction for 33 years.
"His passing raises the stakes substantially in the confirmation process of Judge John G. Roberts, who will now be considered for the influential position of chief justice. Our nation is at a critical juncture. President Bush now must fill a second vacancy that will shape the court for generations to come.
"The American people deserve a thorough debate before a nominee with Roberts' troubling record on the right to privacy and the right to choose is confirmed for a position that can decisively influence the direction of the court. It is gravely troubling that Roberts' released writings to date indicate that he may be hostile to Americans' fundamental right to privacy. It is critical that Judge Roberts be open and honest with the American public about his views and judicial philosophy on our most fundamental rights, including privacy, childbearing, contraception, and the right to choose.
"The importance of these two vacancies is compounded by the critical nature of one of the first cases to come before the court in the upcoming term, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The outcome of Ayotte could drastically affect women's health and safety and access to needed health care.
"The justices will be expected to rule on whether an exception to protect a woman's health must be included in laws that restrict abortion access, so it is vital that the Senate only confirm nominees who will protect existing constitutional rights. Planned Parenthood will fight any change in the court that threatens the constitutional protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade."