Samuel Alito Memo: Supreme Court Should Reverse Abortion Decision

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Samuel Alito Memo: Supreme Court Should Reverse Abortion Decision Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 23, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A third memo Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito wrote abortion abortion while he was an attorney in the Reagan administration suggests the high court should overturn its 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision that ushered in an era of more than 44 million abortions.

In a memo to the Solicitor General in 1985, Alito wrote that the Reagan administration should "make clear" that it disagrees with Roe in a planned friend of the court brief it anticipated filing.

Alito said that the government “should make clear that we disagree with Roe v. Wade and would welcome the opportunity to brief the issue of whether, and if so to what extent, that decision should be overruled.”

According to an Associated Press report, Alito’s memo says abortion is different from another other Constitutional right because it involves the destruction of another life.

“While abortion involves essentially the same medical choice as other surgery, it involves in addition a moral choice, because the woman contemplating a first trimester abortion is given absolute and unreviewable authority over the future of the fetus,” Alito wrote.

As a result, Alito explained, laws allowing women to get information about abortion’s risks and alternatives should be in place if Roe isn’t overturned.

“Should not then the woman be given relevant and objective information bearing on this choice?" he asked.

"Roe took from the state lawmakers the authority to make this choice and gave it to the pregnant woman. Does it not follow that the woman contemplating abortion have at her disposal at least some of the same sort of information that we would want lawmakers to consider?”

As with a previous memo, Alito said the case, known eventually as the Thornburgh decision, would give the Reagan administration an opportunity to place strong limits on Roe if it didn’t have the votes to overturn the decision in its entirety.

“It has most of the advantage of a brief devoted to the overruling of Roe v. Wade; it makes our position clear, does not even tacitly concede Roe’s legitimacy, and signals that we regard the question as live and open,” Alito wrote about the strategy the administration should pursue.

The memo was among a group of 45 documents released by the National Archives on Friday.

Two previous memos about abortion have provided some clarity on the view of the federal appeals court judge President Bush has picked to replace outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

In one memo, Alio wrote that he believed there was no right to abortion in the Constitution. In another, Alito suggested strategy to top Reagan attorneys on an upcoming abortion case and he urged it to support limits on abortion if Roe couldn’t be overturned.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to begin hearings on Alito’s high court nomination on January 9 and a full vote in the Senate is planned for January 20, just days before the 33rd anniversary of the Roe decision.

Abortion advocates have been stepping up their attack ads and grassroots opposition in preparation.

The main opposition Grand National Party called for a parliamentary investigation of the government for failing to find errors in Hwang’s research sooner. Party spokesman Lee Ke-jin accused the president’s office of being "greatly responsible for neglecting the situation when it knew everything."