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January 29, 2008

Anti-Choice Activist Should Not Get Lifetime Judgeship

Divisive Bush nominee who led failed effort to ban abortion in Wyoming will appear before a Senate committee next month

Washington, DC and Cheyenne, WY – The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on February 12, and one of the judicial nominees appearing is Richard Honaker, who repeatedly tried to outlaw abortion in Wyoming. The leaders of NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming said today that they will redouble their efforts to stop this anti-choice activist from getting a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.

Bush nominated Honaker to a lifetime post on the district court for Wyoming. While serving in the Wyoming House of Representatives, Honaker put his extremist belief that "abortion kills innocent human beings" into action by twice pushing for legislation that would impose a near-total ban on abortion services in the state. When those legislative efforts failed, Honaker, undaunted, joined forces with an anti-choice advocacy group to secure the proposal as a ballot initiative – a measure that Wyoming voters overwhelmingly rejected.

Sharon Breitweiser, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming, who worked against Honaker's legislative attacks on choice when he served in the state legislature, said the public shouldn't accept Honaker's recent claims that his personal views on abortion won't affect his decisions as a judge.

"Richard Honaker has a long history of working to end legal abortion," Breitweiser said. "Honaker is already trying to downplay his documented past as a hostile opponent of reproductive rights. Pro-choice Americans are counting on senators to scrutinize Honaker's previous statements and actions carefully and not to accept a 'confirmation conversion' if he claims to repudiate his past activism. Regardless of what he now might say, his deplorable record against women's freedom and privacy speaks for itself."

Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the committee has an obligation to stop Bush from continuing to stack the federal courts with right-wing ideologues.

"It is past time for the Senate to tell Bush, 'Enough is enough.' The Senate shouldn't continue to let Bush pacify his far-right base by rewarding a long-time anti-choice activist like Honaker with lifetime employment as a federal judge," Keenan said.

Since the announcement of Honaker's nomination, NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming have worked to expose his record and warn senators about the dangers posed by this nomination. Several Wyoming- and D.C.-based organizations signed a letter organized by NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming and NARAL Pro-Choice America in opposition to the Honaker nomination.

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