Senate Delivers a Crushing Blow to Reproductive Rights
WASHINGTON, DC — Today the U.S. Senate voted 58 to 42 to confirm Judge Samuel Alito as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement on the U.S. Supreme Court. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) vigorously opposed Alito's nomination to the high court because of his long record of hostility toward women's rights and privacy rights and because he refused to signal any change from this record during his confirmation hearings. Karen Pearl, interim president of PPFA, issued the following statement:
"Today's vote is a crushing blow to the protections for women's health and safety that American women and families have relied on for more than 33 years. "We applaud those senators who held fast to their principles and voted against Alito's nomination. However, the American public should be outraged that a majority of the Senate was willing to jeopardize our basic reproductive rights by voting for Judge Alito. Fair-minded Americans will remember this vote when their rights are taken away."
Alito will soon have the opportunity to rule on cases involving women's health and safety. The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to announce shortly whether it will hear Carhart v. Gonzales, a challenge to the Bush administration's federal abortion ban. The ban, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2003, would outlaw abortions as early as 12 to 15 weeks in pregnancy that doctors say are the safest and best to protect women's health. Just five years ago, the Supreme Court struck down an abortion ban passed by the state of Nebraska because it did not have a health exception, and Justice O'Connor's was the critical fifth vote that upheld protections for women's health and safety. Planned Parenthood has every reason to believe that Judge Alito will swing the court in the opposite direction, becoming the fifth vote to undermine protections for women's health and safety, the core issue in Carhart v. Gonzales and all the abortion ban cases.
May 12, 2014