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April 9, 2010

Statement of Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, on Justice John Paul Stevens' Retirement from the Supreme Court

"NARAL Pro-Choice America salutes Justice John Paul Stevens' commitment to public service. Stevens is among the strongest supporters of the right to choose currently serving on the Supreme Court, and his retirement serves as yet another stark reminder of the important role the Court plays in our everyday lives.

"Stevens consistently voted to uphold American liberties, as set forth in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. His record reflects a respect for individual freedom and opposition to political interference in our most personal, private decisions. Stevens' retirement now gives President Obama the opportunity to nominate a fair-minded individual who, like him and the majority of Americans, supports the constitutional right to privacy as reflected in Roe.

"The nine-member Court includes two Justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who have voted to overturn Roe, and two more members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, whom President Bush appointed because he wanted Justices who reflected the Scalia-Thomas mold.

"Given the current composition of the Court, we will assess the eventual nominee's complete record on privacy and other relevant issues in the same way we did during Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation process. Unlike Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Alito, Justice Sotomayor articulated several times throughout her hearing that the constitutional right to privacy includes the right to choose, and thus we supported her nomination for a seat on the nation's highest court.

"One thing is certain: opponents of women's freedom and privacy will use this vacancy on the Court as an opportunity to further their attacks on nominees who have taken pro-choice positions. America's pro-choice majority will fight back.

"This vacancy could make choice an even more prominent issue in the 2010 mid-term congressional elections. Americans will be watching to make sure senators understand the need for a Justice who respects a woman's ability to make the personal, private decisions that are best for her and her family."

Additional Resources:

More information about Justice Stevens' decisions on choice-related cases.

Information about the Supreme Court's decisions on key cases related to reproductive rights.

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