Sen. Lindsey Graham just asked Amy Coney Barrett about abortion rights.
For Barrett’s supporters and detractors alike, it’s clear that her confirmation would cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court to limit abortion access.
Even if the court doesn’t overturn Roe v. Wade, there are cases percolating in courts nationwide that would chip away at an individual’s right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy and give the state room to second-guess that decision.
In 2006, Barrett added her name to a list of “citizens of Michiana” who signed a “right to life ad,” sponsored by a group that opposes abortion, that appeared in the South Bend Tribune. The ad from the Saint Joseph County Right to Life calls for putting “an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade and restore laws that protect the lives of unborn children.”
Ten years later, Barrett told an audience at Jacksonville University she believed that while Roe wouldn’t be overturned, access to abortion could eventually be limited.
“I don’t think the core case — Roe’s core holding that, you know, women have a right to an abortion — I don’t think that would change,” Barrett said. “But I think the question of whether people can get very late-term abortions, you know, how many restrictions can be put on clinics — I think that would change.”
What comes next: Supporters of abortion rights are watching more than 15 cases percolating in the lower courts that will likely arrive at the Supreme Court in the coming terms. They include issues such as requirements for the burial of fetal tissue, hospital admission rules and parental notification, as well as bans on abortion as early as six, eight or 10 weeks into pregnancy.
How far Barrett would go is a question roiling the country as progressives lament that Trump chose to replace the liberal late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a 48-year-old conservative jurist who is the feminist icon’s ideological opposite, especially when it comes to reproductive health.
Barrett’s record indicates she believes the Roe v. Wade decision is an act of “judicial imperialism,” Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said at a Judiciary Committee meeting last Thursday. “I do believe Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s record bears that out.”
On the bench, Barrett, a deep thinker and meticulous jurist who was well aware long before her nomination that she was on Trump’s short list, has left a careful trail. That trail reveals votes open to more restrictive laws and a state’s expanded ability to regulate abortion, as well as a judicial philosophy aligned with that of her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who believed Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.