Pro-Life Groups Call on Senate to Question Sonia Sotomayor on Abortion, Roe

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Call on Senate to Question Sonia Sotomayor on Abortion, Roe

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 27
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — While Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has been involved in a handful of decision related to abortion, she has little for pro-life advocates to use to postulate where she stands on the issue of abortion itself and whether she would vote to uphold or reverse Roe v. Wade.

The lynchpin of the abortion debate is Roe and its companion case Doe v. Bolton.

Combined, they essentially allow unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason and have resulted in the victimization of more than 50 million unborn children and tens of millions of women.

Sotomayor ruled in favor of the Mexico City Policy and overturned a lower court decision concerning First Amendment rights for pro-life protestors, but those decision merely upheld Supreme Court precedent and didn’t involve abortion policy.

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, noted that in comments to

"What we have seen of Judge Sotomayor’s record so far sheds little light on her views regarding how the Constitution bears on the powers of elected lawmakers to protect the right to life of unborn children," he said.

As a result, NRLC joins other pro-life groups in asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a full hearing on Sotomayor’s abortion views.

"Members of the Senate should not be pressured to act on this nomination with undue haste. We believe it is critical that senators thoroughly explore whether Judge Sotomayor believes that Supreme Court justices have the right to override the decisions of elected lawmakers on such issues as partial-birth abortion, tax funding of abortion, and parental notification for abortion," he said.

Johnson is particularly concerned about where Sotomayor stands on the issue of partial-birth abortions.

In Gonzales v. Carhart, on April 18, 2007, a five-justice majority upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and that narrow 5-4 decision was a reversal of a 5-4 pro-abortion decision years ago overturning a state ban on the abortion procedure.

"It is, then, very appropriate for senators to press for Judge Sotomayor’s views on the analysis adopted by the dissenters in Gonzales, an analysis that could bar virtually all limitations on abortion," Johnson said.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, echoed National Right to Life’s concerns.

He urged senators not to "rush to judgment on Sotomayor or approve her based on her biography" and said the Senate should "use the hearing process to examine both her public record and her public comments."

"The Senate must take the time to ask the tough questions, fully examine the nominee’s record, and protect our Constitution," he told

Perkins is concerned about comments Sotomayor made saying that the court system "is where policy is made."

"With all due respect, the American public wants judges who interpret the law and do not act as life-tenured, judicially empowered social engineers," he said. "Will she decide cases based on the law and sound precedent, or is she a judge who will use cases as an opportunity to impose her personal views on the nation – with no right of appeal for us, the American people?"

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