Pro-Abortion Republican Senators May Oppose Samuel Alito

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 3, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Republican Senators May Oppose Samuel Alito Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 3, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Two pro-abortion Republican senators say they may oppose Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito because of his 1991 appeals court decision to uphold a Pennsylvania law that limited abortions. They are both members of the filibuster compromise group that is meeting with Alito today.

Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a Rhode Island Republican, says Alito’s nomination to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor "raises many concerns" because of his vote to oppose abortion.

Chafee told USA Today that Alito "has taken many positions that appear to place him at odds with the protection of key fundamental rights."

He cited as an example the Pennsylvania decision, in which the appeals court upheld a law requiring women to tell their husband they were considering an abortion and for abortion practitioners to tell women about abortion’s risks and dangers.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, a pro-abortion Maine Republican, echoed his concerns, according to the newspaper.

Both senators are on the ballot next year and Chafee may experience a strong challenge from a Democrat who backs abortion. Because of that they may feel the need to side with abortion advocates in states that are considered strongly pro-abortion.

On the other hand, pro-life Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson, who signed a similar abortion information law when he was governor of Nebraska, says he’s comfortable with Alito.

Nelson said, "It’s pretty clear the judge feels similarly" on the issue of abortion. Nelson is also a filibuster compromise group member. Nelson, who says he has a "comfort level” so far with Alito.

Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, a more moderate Democrat who sometimes votes for pro-life policies, says he hopes a huge debate can be avoided on abortion and that Alito will get a fair hearing.

"Maybe it’s fun for some people," he said. "I’m not sure I’ll have a lot of fun."