(PRESS RELEASE) Today President Trump announced the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where he currently sits.
Judge Gorsuch joined the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, which held in part that the government did not have a compelling interest in gender equality with respect to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage benefit. The case became Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and was later heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which did assume that the government’s interest in gender equality was compelling, yet still allowed private companies to deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control under the ACA.
President Trump has promised that his nominee for the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, which first acknowledged a woman’s constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that right time and again, including just last year in the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Supreme Court victory in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the court rejected medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access as unconstitutional.
Said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
"Given President Trump's promise to appoint a Supreme Court justice that would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade, we need to know whether Judge Gorsuch would do just that.
“Our Constitution guarantees a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion. Any effort to gut those protections would harm the rights and health of women for generations to come.
“It's imperative that the Senate gets clear answers from Judge Gorsuch that constitutional protections—not politics or ideology—will prevail when our fundamental reproductive rights are on the docket. “
The Center for Reproductive Rights recently released a comprehensive report titled What if Roe Fell? detailing the troubling consequences for the health and safety of American women if Roe were overturned. The report determined that more than 37 million women in 33 states are at-risk of living in a state where abortion could become illegal if the Supreme Court’s landmark decision were reversed.
The report warns that 22 states—nearly all of which are situated in the central and southern part of the country—could immediately ban abortion outright, whereas women in an additional 11 states (plus the District of Columbia) at risk of losing their right to abortion. In the remaining 17 states—which are primarily situated on the coasts of the country—a woman’s right to abortion is secure based on current state law.