Sotomayor Pick Highlights President Obama’s OK of Promoting Abortions Overseas

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 26, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sotomayor Pick Highlights President Obama’s OK of Promoting Abortions Overseas

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 26
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — President Barack Obama selected appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday to replace pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice David Souter. His decision is highlighting how he overturned the Mexico City Policy, which prevented sending tax dollars to groups that promote and perform abortions overseas.

Despite a long career on the courts, the only major occasion on which Sotomayor issued a ruling regarding abortion came in connection with the Mexico City Policy.

Although the decision merely upheld a lower court ruling and followed the direction of the Supreme Court, which had already indicated the federal government could limit taxpayer funding of abortions, it spotlights Obama’s extreme pro-abortion record.

During his first week in office as president, Obama immediately satisfied his pro-abortion consistency by overturning the longstanding policy, which made pro-abortion groups taking taxpayer funds promise not to use the money to perform abortions or lobby pro-life nations to overturn their laws.

Obama’s decision reversed the Bush administration policy, which came before the appeals court during Sotomayor’s tenure in the form of a lawsuit from the Center for Reproductive Law, a pro-abortion legal group, in 2002.

CRR claimed that the policy violated its First Amendment, due process, and equal protection rights.

Sotomayor wrote the opinion for the appeals court in the case, Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush, and relied on an earlier ruling from the appeals court in Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. v. Agency for International Development, which dealt with a virtually identical claim.

The appeals court rejected the group’s First Amendment claim on the merits and, turning to the plaintiffs’ due process claim, Sotomayor held that they lacked standing because they alleged only a harm to foreign organizations, rather than themselves.

In other words, CRR is only a pro-abortion law firm, not one of the groups that was denied taxpayer funds because it would not promote to not perform or promote abortions overseas.

Sotomayor did write that CRR had standing with regard to their equal protection claim, but she ultimately held that the claim failed under rational basis review.

In conclusion, she wrote that the government “is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position” with public funds.

Though Sotomayor could change her mind once she reaches the Supreme Court, where she would not feel an obligation to follow high court precedent while serving on a lower court, her decision highlights how Bush’s decision to put the policy in place was Constitutional.

Obama’s decision to allow groups to use taxpayer dollars to promote and perform abortions in other nation’s will stand until a pro-life president is elected. Until then, it puts him outside the mainstream on abortion because polls consistently show most Americans oppose taxpayer funded abortions.

In fact, a Gallup survey following his decision found a strong majority of Americans opposed Obama overturning the Mexico City Policy.

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