FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2017
With news reports that President Trump will nominate Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue issued the following statement:
“The Supreme Court exists to defend our basic rights as Americans and must serve as a check on this runaway administration. President Trump’s decision to speed up the announcement of his Supreme Court nominee will not distract from the hundreds of thousands of Americans demonstrating in the streets and at airports. After Trump’s disastrous first week on the job—from his global gag rule to his travel ban on Muslims—we cannot afford to elevate his destructive agenda with a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.
“With Judge Neil Gorsuch, the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to women and our lives. Gorsuch represents an existential threat to legal abortion in the United States and must never wear the robes of a Supreme Court justice.
“With a clear track record of supporting an agenda that undermines abortion access and endangers women, there is no doubt that Gorsuch is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade and the promise it holds for women’s equality. The fact that the court has repeatedly reaffirmed Roe over the past four decades would no longer matter, just as facts often don’t seem to matter to President Trump. Confirming Gorsuch to a lifetime on the Supreme Court would make good on Trump’s repeated promises to use his appointments to overturn Roe v. Wade and punish women.
“NARAL and our 1.2 million member-activists call on the Senate to reject Trump’s nominee using any and all available means, including the filibuster.”
President Trump has a long history of promising to nominate justices intent on overturning Roe v. Wade. Here is a brief background on what we know about Judge Neil Gorsuch:
- Current position: judge, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Appointed by anti-choice president George W. Bush; confirmed by voice vote
- He has contributed to anti-choice elected officials including Bill Frist, John McCain, and George W. Bush.[i]
- He clerked for anti-choice Associate Justice Byron White and for mixed-choice Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
- The conservative Federalist Society lists him as an “expert” on its website.[ii]
- In a case challenging the Utah governor’s executive action defunding Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Gorsuch wrote an anti-choice dissent, in which he describes the motivation for the governor’s order as based on the activities alleged in videos released in the summer of 2015, and not because of the governor’s anti-choice position.[iii]
- When the Tenth Circuit decided against rehearing en banc a challenge to the ACA’s contraceptive-coverage policy (Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell), Gorsuch joined the dissenting opinion. Dissenters called the contraceptive-coverage policy a clear burden on the plaintiffs’ free exercise of religion and predicted that the policy would “not long survive.”[iv]
- Gorsuch concurred with the Tenth Circuit’s anti-choice ruling in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius. He wrote a concurring opinion that the ACA’s contraceptive-coverage policy required Hobby Lobby “to violate their religious faith by lending an impermissible degree of assistance to conduct their religion teaches to be gravely wrong.” He continues, “the mandate compels Hobby Lobby and Mardel to underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg.”
- He submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the American Hospital Association in a case about assisted suicide. He referenced Planned Parenthood v. Casey and wrote, in reference to public hospitals being required to provide elective abortions, “If the courts feel free to override the conscience of health care providers in that context, there is a danger they will do so here as well.”[v]
- In a challenge to Oklahoma’s license-plate program, which allows for “Choose Life” license plates that fund anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers, the district court dismissed the case on procedural grounds. Gorsuch ruled that although some of the charges were rightfully dismissed, others could be heard on the merits so he remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings. In his opinion, he wrote: “even if [the plaintiff] were to prevail and obtain the relief sought in its amended complaint, the State would remain free to promote adoption and ensure that none of its monies go to abortion-related activities or any other activities of which it disapproves.”[vi]
- Gorsuch’s book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, according to his publisher argued against legalization of assisted suicide and for “the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.” [vii]
[i] The Center for Responsive Politics, Search for donations of Neil Gorsuch, available at opensecrets.org
[iii] Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert, No. 15-4189 (2016).
[iv] Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, No. 13-1540 (2015).
[v] Brief of Amici Curiae American Hospital Association, State of Washington v. Glucksberg, et al, WL 656278 (U.S.) (1996) (Nos. 96-220, 96-1858).
[vi] Hill v. Kemp, (WL 478 F.3d 1236), No. 05-5160 (2007).
NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”