Sonia Sotomayor Calls Abortion: "Woman’s Right to Terminate Her Pregnancy"

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 16, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sonia Sotomayor Calls Abortion: "Woman’s Right to Terminate Her Pregnancy"

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 16
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — During questioning on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sonia Sotomayor was questioned again about her board membership on a pro-abortion Hispanic group that repeatedly urged the Supreme Court to allow unlimited abortions paid for at taxpayer expense.

As with a first set of questions about her role, Sotomayor essentially evaded scrutiny and said she did not participate in the legal briefs.

But the questioning led to a comment that pro-life advocates may seize on as proof that Sotomayor supports abortion.

The questioning involved Sotomayor and pro-life Sen. Lyndsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is an attorney by practice.

"Now, when you were a lawyer, what was the mission statement of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund?" he asked.

"To promote the civil rights and equal opportunity of Hispanics in the United States," she replied.

"During your time on the board — and you had about every job a board member could have — is it a fair statement to say that all of the cases embraced by this group on abortion advocated the woman’s right to choose and argued against restrictions by state and federal government on abortion rights?" Graham asked.

"I didn’t — I can’t answer that question because I didn’t review the briefs. I did know that the fund had a health care docket that included challenges to certain limitations on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy under certain circumstances," Sotomayor responded.

The comment, without clarifying it as one that only represented the PRLDF, could easily leave Sotomayor open to accusations that she tipped her hand and exposed her pro-abortion viewpoint before the committee.

Graham, sensing he couldn’t get further with her, took part of his time to lecture the nominee.

"Judge, I — I may be wrong, but every case I’ve seen by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund advocated against restrictions on abortion, advocated federal taxpayer funding of abortion for low- income women," he said.

"I mean, that’s just the record of this organization. And the point I’m trying to make is that whether or not you advocate those positions and how you will judge can be two different things," he said.

Sotomayor asserted that "my decisions have not shown me to be an advocate on behalf of any group. That’s a different, dramatically different question than what — whether I follow the law."

"I’m just trying to make the point that when you are an advocate, when you are on this board, the board took positions that I think are left of center. And you have every right to do it," Graham said in response.

Graham followed up on Sotomayor’s heritage to make the point further.

"Have you ever known a low-income Latina woman who was devoutly pro-life?" he asked.

After Sotomayor responded in the affirmative, Graham concluded his point.

"So the point is there are many points of view within groups based on income. You have, I think, consistently, as an advocate, taken a point of view that was left of center," he said.

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