Firm Commitment to Women's Health and Safety Vital to Confirmation
July 15, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC — Responding to President Bush's nomination of Judge John G. Roberts, of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, to the U.S. Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today called for a thorough and deliberative confirmation process, saying Roberts must be prepared to demonstrate his commitment to constitutional protections for women's health and reproductive rights.
"The nomination of John G. Roberts raises serious questions and grave concerns for women's health and safety. It is particularly troubling that Roberts went on the record calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned when he served as a lawyer for the government," said Karen Pearl, interim president of PPFA. "Only a nominee committed to protecting women's health and safety should be confirmed by the Senate. A lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court requires a confirmation process that is thoughtful, intelligent, and fully deliberated — the Senate owes the American public nothing less."
The Supreme Court's recent decision to hear Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood in the coming term spotlights the urgency of the threat to reproductive freedom. This high-stakes case could undermine both the primacy of a woman's health and the ability of organizations like Planned Parenthood to challenge restrictions on abortion access. Only five years ago, Justice O'Connor was critical to protecting women's health and maintaining access to abortion in the 5-4 decision issued in Stenberg v. Carhart. When the Supreme Court hears Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood later this year, the outcome with a new justice could drastically affect women's health and safety.
"All Supreme Court justices have a great impact on women's health, but Justice O'Connor's replacement will play a truly pivotal role," added Pearl. "We expect Judge Roberts to state his position on reproductive freedom fully and completely and answer thoroughly any questions posed by the Senate on his commitment to upholding protections for women's health and safety. Our own case, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, will determine whether the high court believes the Constitution protects the health and safety of women."