WASHINGTON, DC — Celebrity supporters of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation's leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, are sounding a call to arms in defense of reproductive rights in response to the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
The loss of O'Connor's moderate voice, which has often been pivotal in protecting women's health and rights, has inspired the following selected quotes:
Kathleen Turner — Actor
"We've all been bracing for a Supreme Court resignation, and now that it's come, I can feel the chill wind blow. Sandra Day O'Connor upheld constitutional protections for women. Now that she's leaving, we can expect Bush to nominate a replacement who is hostile to women's freedoms. I urge everyone to stay involved and let it be known that we have a pro-choice majority in this country."
Julianne Moore — Actor
"The days and weeks ahead are going to define reproductive rights for decades to come. These will be perilous times for women if, as expected, Justice O'Connor's replacement is not a moderate, but an extremist who does not believe that the lives of women have value."
Gloria Steinem — Activist
"If O'Connor is replaced by a right-wing instead of centrist justice, we will feel it in our most intimate lives. Without her vote, people with HMOs would be unable to get a second opinion, government would not be neutral toward religion, discriminatory state tax laws would have no federal redress, compulsory pregnancy would force a woman to carry a non-viable fetus to term — and much more. Lobby against extremism as if your life depended on it. Because it does."
Ann Crittenden — Author
"Justice O'Connor's retirement, coming at a time when the president is determined to pack the Supreme Court with extremists, jeopardizes the independence of the court and our very system of checks and balances. Americans, on guard!"
Giancarlo Esposito — Actor
"Now more than ever, people who support reproductive rights — and that's most of us in this country — have to hold strong and make our voices heard. So much is at stake — the very lives of women."
Heather Tom — Actor
"Sandra Day O'Connor was often a 'swing' voter, the moderate voice on the bench who consistently refused to impose her morality on the law. Her retirement could have a devastating effect on the preservation of Roe v. Wade and the health and lives of women."
Judy Reyes — Actor
"This is a pivotal moment in our country's history. The president can choose to be balanced in his selection of a nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, or he can nominate an ideologue who does not believe in protecting women's freedoms. Now, more than ever, we who are pro-choice need to speak up."
Cheryl Tiegs — Model
"Our rights should not be taken for granted, nor should they be taken away for political gain. With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, our reproductive rights are at stake. We must speak out now and demand that the Supreme Court be a balanced court, not one that reflects the views of the president. Please join me and make your voice heard!"
Camryn Manheim — Actor
"The justices who sit on the Supreme Court have enormous power to affect the health and safety of women. Roe v. Wade changed the lives of millions of American women for the better. That's why so much is riding on Bush's nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, who was a moderate voice on the bench. The nation cannot afford to have an extremist who will trample on civil and reproductive rights."
Kathryn Joosten — Actor
"Roe v. Wade will never be safe as long as the theocratic right insists on imposing its beliefs on the entire society. I do not think the populace will accept any curtailing of the rights of women to make choices about their own bodies."
Jessye Norman — Singer
"With Justice Sandra Day O'Connor leaving the bench, the reproductive rights of women move again to the mainstream of discussion and concern, as her moderate, sensitive and original voice will now be absent from this important debate. The battle over a woman's right to choose has been long fought, but it is not over. Fight, we must. Winning, we owe to every woman not only in our country, but on this planet."
BETTY — Musicians
"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was a critical voice on the court, a much-needed moderate at a time when women's rights are at risk. We must work to ensure that she is not replaced with a justice who will further divide this country by siding with those who want to crush women's freedoms."
Al Franken — Author/Talk Show Host
"'If abortion is outlawed, then only outlaws will have abortions.'"
Sarah McLachlan — Musician
"I feel sickened to think that in this day and age the possibility exists that Roe v. Wade might be overturned. With Justice O'Connor stepping down, this fear is real. Our freedom is being threatened. I'm telling everyone I know and so should you."
Wanda Sykes — Actor/Comedian
"We've made so many gains when it comes to women's health and rights. We can't let right-wing extremists force us back to the days when women did not have control over their reproductive lives."
Peter Boyle — Actor
"The next justice will have the power to change the way we live our lives, so we must do everything in our power to ensure that women are not stripped of their right to choose."
David Eigenberg — Actor
"I want everybody out there to know that the issue of reproductive freedom is not just a woman's issue. All you pro-choice guys out there should be screaming from the rooftops, telling the world that if we get a right-wing extremist to replace Justice O'Connor, all of us are going to be in big trouble. Last I heard, this is a pro-choice country we're living in."
These celebrities are among the members of Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Board of Advocates, a diverse group of prominent individuals united by their personal integrity and commitment to reproductive rights and health.
May 12, 2014