Where Will Sonia Sotomayor Stand on Abortion, Roe v. Wade? Time Will Tell

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

Where Will Sonia Sotomayor Stand on Abortion, Roe v. Wade? Time Will Tell

by Maria Vitale
LifeNews.com Editorial Columnist
June 1
, 2009

LifeNews.com Note: Maria Vitale is an editorial opinion columnist for LifeNews.com. She is the Public Relations Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Vitale has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio. She is available to speak at pro-life events.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor may be a history-maker, but it’s more because of her Hispanic heritage than her womanhood.

After all, it’s been decades since Sandra Day O’Connor broke the judicial glass ceiling by becoming the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg followed; thus, having a woman on the High Court became an accepted fact. Indeed, Sotomayor’s chief rivals for the new Justice position were all of the female persuasion.

Pro-abortion groups have expressed concern that Sotomayor’s stand on Roe is unknown; the White House has answered by claiming its confidence that she’s on the same side of the judicial philosophical spectrum as President Barack Obama, who steadfastly supports Roe.

Meanwhile, pro-life groups such as the more than 3,000 chapters-strong National Right to Life are asking some pertinent questions: Does Sotomayor believe that the Supreme Court has a right to override the decisions of elected lawmakers on partial-birth abortion—a heinous practice that public opinion polls show 70 percent of Americans oppose?

What about taxpayer funding of abortion—which the overwhelming majority of Americans also oppose? How about parental notification for abortion—which vast numbers of voters support? What about sex selection abortions—now there’s an interesting quandary for a new female Justice.

The two women who’ve already worn Supreme Court robes have had some surprising things to say about Roe. While neither O’Connor nor Ginsburg could be considered pro-life—indeed, Ginsburg remains one of the Court’s pro-Roe votes—they both expressed concerns about the most controversial court decision of our time.

O’Connor said that Roe was on a “collision course with itself.” Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, back in the ‘90s Ginsburg talked about Roe holding that a Texas abortion statute violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

“Suppose the Court had stopped there, thus declaring unconstitutional the most extreme brand of law in the nation, and had not gone on, as the Court did in Roe, to fashion a regime blanketing the subject, a set of rules that displaced virtually every state law then in force?” Ginsburg asked.

She then went on, “Would there have been the 20-year controversy we have witnessed, reflected most recently in the Supreme Court’s splintered decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey? A less encompassing Roe, I believe and will summarize why, might have served to reduce rather than to fuel controversy.”

So the two women who have already served on the Supreme Court have expressed some reservations about Roe. Might Sotomayor do the same? It’s too soon to say.

But the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter whether you are a woman or a man, Hispanic, black, Asian, Native American, or white, Republican or Democrat. Roe should be assessed strictly in light of the Constitution as written.

As Yale Law School professor John Hart Ely once said, Roe v. Wade is “a very bad decision…because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be."

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.