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January 27, 2003


Communications Department

National Abortion Federation Condemns Bush's Court Picks

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

Just last week, women across the country celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade - three decades of the right to make their own private reproductive health care decisions. Clouding the celebration, however, was the knowledge that the current Administration is doing everything in its power to roll back this most fundamental freedom. President Bush's recent choices for the federal judiciary are proof positive of what the New York Times called this Administration's "war on women."

Bush's appellate court nominations have a disturbing sameness about them: they are anti-woman, they are anti-civil rights, they are anti-worker, and they are anti-environment. While I am heartened by the outrage expressed at Bush's decision to resubmit the nominations of Charles Pickering and Priscilla Owen, I hope the American people will realize that Pickering and Owen are the rule, rather than the exceptions, and that the rest of the nominees hold equally extreme views.

Carolyn Kuhl, nominated to the influential 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, believes that Roe should be overturned and once wrote that allowing doctors in federally funded Title X clinics to discuss abortion with their patients would be tantamount to funding a pro-smoking campaign. DC Circuit Court nominee John Roberts similarly believes that Title X clients don't deserve to know about their full reproductive health care options - he too supported the gag rule, and also has stated that Roe was wrongly decided. Timothy Tymkovich, who hopes to join rabidly anti-choice Michael McConnell on the Tenth Circuit, defended a Colorado law that prohibited the state's Medicaid program from funding abortions even when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest - a statute that clearly violated federal law. Should any of these nominees reach the federal bench, the effect on women and their reproductive health care providers would be devastating.

Last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a clear message to President Bush. Like the majority of Americans, the committee rejected the radically conservative ideology of Pickering and Owen, and asked the Administration to nominate individuals whose views were more in line with those shared by mainstream America. They, and we, are still waiting.


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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