O'Connor Resignation Creates Ominous Court Vacancy
WASHINGTON, DC — The retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dramatically changes the court's composition by removing a crucial moderate voice that has often been at the heart of protecting women's health and rights. With the stakes high, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, is marshalling its grassroots activists and lobbying presence in all 50 states to sound a call to arms in defense of reproductive rights. These grassroots activists will stage events nationwide to draw attention to the critical significance of this court vacancy.
"The resignation of Justice O'Connor creates a devastating and dangerous moment for reproductive health care and women's rights," said PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl. "Her departure places women's health at risk, endangering the future of reproductive rights in this nation. With so much at stake, Planned Parenthood will be on the frontlines of the Supreme Court battles to ensure women's health is protected."
The Supreme Court's recent decision to hear Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood spotlights the urgency of the threat to reproductive freedom. This high-stakes case could undermine both the primacy of a woman's health as a limitation on states' zeal to curb access to abortion, and the ability of organizations like Planned Parenthood to challenge those restrictions on access. Only five years ago, Justice O'Connor was critical to maintaining access to abortion in the 5-4 decision issued in Stenberg v. Carhart. When the court hears Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood later this year, the outcome with a new Justice could drastically affect women's health and safety.
"Nothing will have a greater impact on protecting the health and safety of women than appointments to the Supreme Court," said Pearl. "Planned Parenthood, as the largest provider of reproductive health care in this country, knows this firsthand. Our own case Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, to be heard later this year, will determine whether the high court and the nation feel that the health and safety of women are worth preserving.
"A lifetime appointment requires a confirmation process that is nothing less than thoughtful, intelligent, and fully deliberated," said Pearl. "Americans deserve Supreme Court Justices who they know will protect their health and safety."