Feminist Majority Opposes President Bush’s Anti-Women Judicial Nominee
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Must Vote Against McConnell
WASHINGTON, DC - With a judicial record that is clearly anti-women, Michael McConnell, President Bush’s nominee to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, poses an imminent danger to women’s rights, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority declared today. The Feminist Majority joins a group of women’s rights, abortion rights, civil rights and other progressive organizations in opposing Bush’s latest attempt to stack the courts with judges who will limit a woman’s right to choose.
“Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee must continue to send President Bush the message that they will not approve judges that will take away women’s rights and roll the clock backwards according to a right-wing ideology. At this time of global turmoil, we don’t need extremists in the courts willing to make a Dred Scott decision in the area of women’s fundamental rights,” Smeal said. “McConnell has openly stated that he believes that Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. He signed a statement of pro-life principle and concern that calls for embryos to be considered persons under the law. He applauded a judge for not following the Freedom of Access To Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Over and over again, he has used his right-wing ideology in place of the law to chip away at the basic human rights of women.”
The Feminist Majority joined the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Abortion Rights and Action League (NARAL), People for the American Way (PFAW), Americans United For The Separation of Church and State and others at a press conference today in Washington to inform both members of the Judiciary Committee and the public about McConnell’s record of ignoring legal precedent in favor of his own right-wing ideologies.
Currently a law professor at the University of Utah, McConnell has made no secret of his anti-women sentiments. The following are some examples:
· In 1993, McConnell testified before Congress that FACE was unconstitutional. “Those who seek abortions have no constitutional right to be spared the indignity and distress of learning that many of their fellow citizens consider the act of abortion tantamount to murder,” he wrote in an essay based on this testimony that was published in the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & The Law.
· In 1996, McConnell signed “The America We Seek: A Statement of Pro-Life Principle and Concern,” which states: “We seek an America in which every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life…We believe that a renewal of American democracy as a virtuous society requires us to honor and promote an ethic of self-command and mutual responsibility, and to resist the siren song of the false ethic of unbridled self-expression.”
· In a 1998 Wall Street Journal article, McConnell called Roe v. Wade “an embarrassment to those who take constitutional law seriously.” He then criticized the Supreme Court for this landmark ruling, stating: “The Supreme Court brought great discredit on itself by overturning state laws regulating abortion without any persuasive basis in constitutional text or logic.”
McConnell is the third in a string of right-wing activists nominated to lifelong federal bench positions by President Bush. Both Priscilla Owen and Charles Pickering, nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, were rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee for their propensity to trumpet their own right-wing ideologies over the law.
If appointed, McConnell would preside over the Appeals Court for the Tenth Circuit, which includes Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. As a lifelong appointee to one of the highest courts in the nation, McConnell could seriously jeopardize the rights of women.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .