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Memo: Anti-Choice Supreme Court Justices Use Smoke and Mirror Tactics to Distract from Extremist Agenda


To: Interested Parties 
From: NARAL Pro-Choice America 
Date: October 5, 2021 
Re: Anti-Choice Supreme Court Justices Use Smoke and Mirror Tactics to Distract from Extremist Agenda

The U.S. Supreme Court just began a new term that could forever change the landscape for the constitutional right to abortion in this country. We are not here by accident. The Court’s decision to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case that directly challenges the precedent set by Roe v. Wade—is the culmination of the anti-choice movement’s decades-long effort to end legal abortion. 

No matter how some may try to spin it, there is no path for the Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s ban without overturning Roe v. Wade

In recent weeks, Justices Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, and Samuel Alito have given variations of a similar public speech expressing outrage at accusations of partisanship and blaming the media and others for the public’s increasing distrust of the Court. In reality, public perception of the Court has been shaped by the Court’s own actions. Its tarnished reputation is the result of these very justices’ blatant disregard for precedent and clear ideological agenda. 

Despite what several of these justices would have you believe, they were put on the Supreme Court for an explicit purpose: to undermine legal abortion, access to contraception, and reproductive freedom more broadly as they advance an agenda of power and control. Donald Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) worked in lockstep with the anti-choice movement to cement a supermajority on the Court that is poised to potentially roll back or entirely overturn Roe. 

The confirmations of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett helped to solidify a regressive, extremist, anti-choice supermajority. However, this extremist ideology isn’t a new phenomenon on the Supreme Court. It has long been embodied by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. What has changed as a result of the recently cemented right-wing supermajority is the power these extremist ideologues have to ultimately determine the outcome of cases before the Court. 

It is clear that the stakes for reproductive freedom and the future of abortion access are higher than ever. One has to look no further than these justices’ own comments and records to determine whether they have respect for our fundamental freedoms, constitutional rights, or the Supreme Court’s precedent:

Clarence Thomas

Samuel Alito

Neil Gorsuch

  • 2013: Wrote a concurring opinion in support of the Tenth Circuit’s anti-choice ruling in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, which undermined the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit.
  • 2016: Dissented in support of the governor of Utah’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • 2020: Dissented in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo in support of a Louisiana clinic shutdown law that would have overturned the Court’s precedent set just four years prior in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016). 
  • 2020: Joined the majority opinion in support of the Trump administration’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit that allows almost any employer to declare themselves exempt from providing birth control coverage in Trump v. Pennsylvania
  • 2021: Allowed Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional, vigilante-enforced ban on abortion to remain in place in last month’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson

Brett Kavanaugh 

  • 2017: In Garza v. Hargan, Kavanaugh voted to further delay an undocumented young person’s access to abortion care. He claimed that this action delaying access to essential care was “not an undue burden.” 
  • 2020: Joined the majority opinion in support of the Trump administration’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit that allows almost any employer to declare themselves exempt from providing birth control coverage in Trump v. Pennsylvania
  • 2020: Dissented in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo in support of a Louisiana clinic shutdown law that would have overturned the Court’s precedent set just four years prior in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016). 
  • 2021: Allowed Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional, vigilante-enforced ban on abortion to remain in place in last month’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson

Amy Barrett 

 

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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