.- Several pro-abortion groups have issued reactions to President Barack Obamaâs nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court. While praising the choice, some groups avoided the abortion issue while one asked for reassurances about the nomineeâs commitment to Roe v. Wade.
Nancy Northrup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), said Judge Sotomayorâs growing up in a single parent household with limited means should provide her with a perspective âsorely needed today as womenâs reproductive rights remain under attack.â Northrup claimed that the pro-abortion rights Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade has been âincreasingly in jeopardyâ in law and in fact by a âsevere shortage of abortion providers,â âonerousâ state abortion restrictions, and a lack of funding. These factors, she said, make abortion âvirtually unavailableâ for many women.
âIt is critical that any new Justice empathize with the true plight of women to not only recognize when those protections are being violated, but to take steps to safeguard them. We encourage the Senate Judiciary Committee to engage Judge Sotomayor and any future nominees to the Court on their commitment to the principles of Roe v. Wade,â Northrup added.
Noting that the nominee has not ruled on the constitutionality of abortion, Northrup addressed Sotomayorâs 2002 opinion against the CRRâs case challenging the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, which prohibited U.S. funding for organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas.
Northrup said the CRR charged that the centerâs overseas work with âwomenâs rights organizations seeking law reformâ to address âthe deaths and harmful consequences of unsafe abortionâ would be hampered by the policy.
According to Northrup, Sotomayorâs opinion âfocused on the application of legal precedent and did not express a view on or discuss the impact ofâ the Mexico City Policy, which Northrup characterized as âthe Global Gag Rule.â
The CRR, then known as the Center for Reproductive Law & Policy (CRLP), had brought the suit which resulted in the U.S. Second District Court of Appeals decision âCenter for Reproductive Law and Policy v. George W. Bush.â
A district courtâs previous decision had ruled that the CRLP did not have legal standing and rejected the CRLPâs claim the policy violated First Amendment protections by chilling foreign non-governmental organizationsâ ability to collaborate with domestic NGOs.
Judge Sotomayor rejected part of the district courtâs argument and said that the CRLP had âcompetitive advocate standingâ because CRLP is an advocacy organization for its views on âissues of abortion and reproductive rights.â She ruled that the group âcompetes with anti-abortion groups engaged in advocacy around the very same issues.â
However, Sotomayor rejected as âwithout meritâ the CRLPâs argument that the Mexico City Policy violated equal protection guarantees, saying âThe Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds.â
Other leaders of pro-abortion groups also weighed in on the Sotomayor nomination.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said Sotomayorâs nomination was âhistoricâ and a âstrong signalâ that President Obama wants Supreme Court justices who ârespect precedent.â
âWhat our nation needs from our Supreme Court justices is a deep understanding of the law, an appreciation of the impact of the court's decisions on everyday Americans, and a commitment to the protection of our individual liberties. Judge Sotomayor will bring this dedication and commitment with her to the bench,â Richardsâ May 26 statement said.
Richardsâ statement did not explicitly mention abortion or Roe v. Wade.
National Organization for Women (NOW) President Kim Gandy in a May 26 statement announced her organization would celebrate the nomination and launch a âConfirm Herâ campaign to ensure Judge Sotomayorâs swift confirmation.
Predicting that Sotomayor will serve âwith distinction,â Gandy praised the nominee for bringing âa lifelong commitment to equality, justice and opportunityâ and for enjoying âthe respect of her peers, unassailable integrity, and a keen intellect informed by experience.â
Grady, whose statement also did not explicitly mention abortion or Roe v. Wade, said President Obama had found in Sotomayor his desired judicial qualities of a âtowering intellectâ and a âcommon touch.â