In response to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Board Chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health Dr. Willie Parker issued the following statement:
In the 44 years since the Roe v. Wade decision established a legal right to abortion, millions of women have benefited from access to abortion. Any prospective Supreme Court nominee must uphold this settled law about a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive health decisions.
President Trump has repeatedly promised that any judge he nominates will overturn Roe v. Wade, while for the last several years, states have been chipping away at Roe to create onerous burdens for patients trying to access safe and legal abortion care. The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a direct threat to the ability of women to choose their own reproductive destinies.
Judge Gorsuch has a record of undermining health care access for women. As one of the 10th Circuit Court judges who ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, Judge Gorsuch ruled in favor of allowing employers to interfere with private medical decisions about contraception. Gorsuch also joined a dissent in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell arguing that making an employer fill out a form was more burdensome than violating an employee’s right to health insurance that meets all of her health care needs.
Placing politics over medicine has disastrous results for the health of Americans. We know that criminalizing abortion does not prevent abortion. The doctors who founded Physicians for Reproductive Health witnessed incredible suffering when abortion was illegal. Today, far too many women still face incredible difficulty in accessing legal abortion care. When abortion is restricted it is the patients who already face barriers to health care who are hurt even more.
Should Roe be overturned, women, especially women without resources, would once again be forced to take matters into their own hands. Doctors do not want to see that again. While very few issues are important enough to stand on their own, access to safe and legal abortion—a service vital to women’s health—is one of them.
Roe v. Wade must be upheld. Gorsuch is not fit to serve on the Supreme Court if he won’t support women’s constitutional rights to abortion. We urge the Senate to reject Judge Gorsuch. Women’s lives in this country depend on it.