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September 17, 2002


Communications Department

National Abortion Federation Opposes Nomination of Michael Mcconnell to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

Statement of Vicki Saporta, President & CEO of the National Abortion Federation

On September 18, 2002 the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Michael McConnell to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) steadfastly opposes his nomination because his extremist positions on reproductive choice would be disastrous for women and reproductive health care providers in the Tenth Circuit.

McConnell's opposition to a woman's constitutional right to an abortion is so far out of the mainstream that he supports a constitutional amendment that would criminalize all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest by creating an "inalienable right-to-life of the unborn." In 1998, McConnell wrote: "the reasoning of Roe v. Wade is an embarrassment to those who take constitutional law seriously." McConnell's views on abortion represent such an extremist and uncompromising position that we have serious concerns about his ability to exercise judicial restraint.

In 1993, amidst increasing violence at reproductive health clinics, McConnell submitted written testimony against the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), the narrowly drawn restrictions on clinic protests which are designed to protect reproductive health care providers and patients from violence and intimidation. He stated that protesters have a "constitutional right to protest against abortion - forcefully and face-to-face if necessary" and that women seeking an abortion have no right to be "spared the indignity and distress" of violent protest. After the passage of FACE, McConnell wrote that "[FACE] singles out a particular kind of protest for penalties unheard of in the history of American protest movements." His analysis of FACE, however, is not in accordance with accepted jurisprudence. Each of the eight federal appellate courts that has reviewed FACE has unequivocally found it to be a valid, narrowly drawn limitation on threatening conduct.

In his opposition to abortion and FACE, McConnell's own writings suggest that he would ignore precedent and not respect the constitutional judgments of his predecessors on both the appellate courts and Supreme Court. His desire to overturn 30 years of reproductive rights jurisprudence, combined with his insistence on the illegitimacy of sound legal law make him an unacceptable choice for a lifetime position on the federal bench. NAF urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the nomination of Michael McConnell to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.


The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.

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