Center’s Legal Analysis Outlines Judge Barrett's Extreme Record on Reproductive Rights

The Center concludes the SCOTUS nominee “stands all too ready, if not eager, to undermine women’s basic liberty rights.”


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The Center for Reproductive Rights has issued an analysis of the judicial rulings, writings and public advocacy of Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Based on the analysis, the Center concludes that Judge Barrett “stands all too ready, if not eager, to undermine women’s basic liberty rights”—including the right to abortion. Based on these findings, the Center opposes Judge Barrett’s confirmation.

The Center conducted an extensive review of Judge Barrett’s judicial rulings during her three years as an Appellate Court judge, her academic writings and speeches as a law professor at Notre Dame Law School, and her public statements and advocacy. Those records, according to a recent statement issued by the Center, show that “Judge Barrett has the most extreme record in opposition to reproductive rights of any Supreme Court nominee since the rejected nomination of Judge Robert Bork over 30 years ago.“ 

Highlights of the Center’s analysis include:

  • On the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Barrett ruled against abortion rights both times the issue was before her. In those cases, she joined opinions that suggest upending Supreme Court law on both the substantive right to abortion and the procedural safeguards that allow the right to be vindicated in court. 
    • In the first case, Planned Parenthood v. Indiana Department of Health, in 2018, the opinion suggested that the government can ban abortion based on a woman’s reason for having one.
    • In the second case, in 2019, Planned Parenthood v. Adams (later Box), the opinion questioned long-standing precedent that abortion providers may challenge restrictive laws before they go into effect.
  • Judge Barrett subscribes to a judicial philosophy of originalism that rejects constitutional protections for abortion rights. Her writings make clear that she does not view Roe v. Wade as a “super precedent” and she has suggested that if confronted with a conflict between precedent and her interpretation of the Constitution, she would side with the latter and overturn precedentendangering settled law on abortion rights.
  • She has publicly advocated to end Roe and defends “the right to life from fertilization,” an extreme legal position that has implications for contraception, abortion care and fertility treatments.

The stakes of this nomination could not be higher. The next Supreme Court justice will hear cases impacting people’s lives for generations to come—not only on issues of reproductive rights, but on access to health care, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and disability rights. On abortion rights alone, more than a dozen cases are in the Supreme Court pipeline—some test cases to overturn Roe v. Wade or to chip away at Roe’s protections to make them meaningless.

The Supreme Court’s vital role in protecting and upholding civil rights and liberties cannot be compromised by a nominee fundamentally hostile to our constitutional rights. The Center for Reproductive Rights opposes the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett—and urges all supporters of reproductive rights to tell their Senators to vote no on her confirmation.

Read the Center’s analysis here: “Report of the Center for Reproductive Rights on the Nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court”

Read the Center's updated report, issued 10-16-20: "Update to the Report of the Center for Reproductive Rights on the Nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court"

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