Reproductive freedom is at risk with Trump’s anti-Roe pick

The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett would cement Trump’s far-right, anti-abortion agenda and put Roe v. Wade and reproductive rights, including access to birth control, at great risk. Barrett has made it clear that she does not respect precedent and that she would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade and severely limit reproductive freedom.

Barrett employs the language of the anti-abortion movement in comments about Roe, describing it as permitting “abortion on demand” and making her intentions to overturn the landmark decision clear.  

  • In 2006, Barrett signed a two-page advertisement calling for the end to the “barbaric legacy” of Roe v. Wade. The letter was sponsored by an organization that supports prosecution of doctors who perform abortions and common parts of the IVF process.
  • In a 2003 article, Barrett suggested Roe v. Wade was an “erroneous decision.”
  • Barrett gave examples of “cases that no justice would overrule, even if she disagrees with the interpretive premises from which precedent proceeds”—but did not list Roe.
  • Barrett has shown a strong disregard for precedent, including Roe. She wrote that it is “a justice’s duty” and “more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it,” suggesting she would use substitute her personal judgment rather than adhere to longstanding precedents of the Court such as Roe.
  • In remarks at a Notre Dame event marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Barrett said “the framework of Roe essentially permitted abortion on demand, and Roe recognizes no state interest in the life of a fetus.” In discussing Roe, she also reiterated her view that life begins at conception.
  • In 2019, the Seventh Circuit struck down a blatantly unconstitutional law which would have required anyone under 18 to notify their parents prior to receiving an abortion, without exception. Barrett would have allowed the law to go into effect

In June 2018, Barrett joined an over-the-top opinion strongly suggesting that an Indiana abortion ban was constitutional. A majority of the judges who heard the case said the law “clearly violate[d] well-established Supreme Court precedent.”

Her nomination is strongly supported by anti-abortion activists and politicians.

  • Anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List said that Barrett has the “perfect combination” of attributes. 
  • The day after Justice Ginsburg’s passing, Americans United for Life called on Trump to nominate Barrett, saying that they are “confident” in her views on constitutional protections for “human lives in the womb.”
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said that he would only vote for justices who have said that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and that Barrett “meets that standard.”

She has made clear that she does not respect the right to an abortion and has also spoken out against access to commons forms of contraception, which she mischaracterizes as “abortion drugs.” 

  • From its founding in 2010 to 2016, Barrett was a member of Notre Dame’s University Faculty for Life, which “promotes research, dialogue and publication by faculty who respect the value of human life from conception to natural death” and claims to have “the evidence … on our side” with respect to “abortion, infanticide and euthanasia.” 
  • Barrett signed an open letter “statement of protest” that denounced the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement, or what she referred to as a policy for “abortion-drugs” and “embryo-destroying ‘five day after pill.’” 

With her lack of respect for precedent and commitment to ending Roe, Barrett has earned the trust of the far-right and anti-abortion activists. Her confirmation to the Supreme Court would shift the balance of the Court and undo decades of progress in the fight for the reproductive rights of women across the country.