Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President
In upholding the Bush Administration’s abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart, the Bush-stacked majority of the U.S. Supreme Court showed its true colors: that it does not care about the health, well-being, and safety of American women. In this first decision on abortion of the newly constituted majority, without Sandra Day O’Connor, Bush appointees John Roberts and Samuel Alito did what they were put on the Court to do—strike a blow against women’s fundamental right to choose abortion.
This propels women’s right to abortion and birth control to the center of the 2008 presidential election. Elections matter: this ban is a direct consequence of a Republican, ideologically driven president and Congress, which ignored the science-based opinions of such leading medical authorities as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in passing this ban and signing it into law.
Already, the decision in Gonzales v. Carhart will mean that women with troubled pregnancies will be forced into more dangerous situations, putting their future ability to have safe and healthy pregnancies at risk. Older women will be especially affected, as amniocentesis results are released later in the pregnancy. The health and safety of adolescents and pre-teens will also be more at risk, as they are often forced to delay their decisions about whether to abort because of lack of control over their own lives or inadequate funds.
This case must serve as a wake-up call to American women that their right to a safe, legal abortion is not only being chipped away, but frontally assaulted. Principled supporters of women’s health and safety in the Senate must stand up against any future Bush appointments to the Supreme Court who will not uphold Roe and preserve women’s fundamental rights, because women’s lives are on the line.