Pro-life groups are sounding the alarm, speculating that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a strong pro-choice voice on the Court.
According to The Daily Wire, Jackson has the support of pro-abortion groups, including the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson.
Whitney Robertson, press secretary at America Rising PAC, provided the following statement to The Daily Wire:
“Ketanji Brown Jackson is the abortion lobby’s dream of a nominee to the Supreme Court. She has consistently sided with causes that earned her the endorsements of the nation’s most prominent abortion groups. If the Democrats were looking for a rubber stamp for their anti-life agenda, they found one in Judge Jackson.”
Pro-life advocates have high hopes that a conservative majority on the Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in the near future. In August, the Supreme Court is scheduled to review a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A ruling on that issue could severely limit or overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that has allowed more than 62 million abortions in the United States since 1975.
While Jackson does not have an in-depth record on the abortion issue, pro-life groups cite the following as cause for alarm:
A response to a question during her nomination process to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seems to indicate that Jackson holds that the right to abort a pregnancy may be upheld by the Constitution, though not expressly enumerated in the Constitution.
Jackson was asked, “Does the Constitution protect rights that are not expressly enumerated in the Constitution? Which rights?”
Jackson answered: “The Supreme Court has determined that the Constitution protects certain rights that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.”
The Daily Wire report noted that Jackson pointed to cases like Griswold v. Connecticut, and Eisenstadt v. Baird, (1972), which “recognize an unenumerated right to privacy that encompasses the right to marital privacy and to use contraception.”
Jackson further noted that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey “articulate a limited right to terminate a pregnancy, particularly before viability…”
Also of concern is that Jackson has ruled against pro-life groups in the past. The Daily Wire reported:
“Jackson’s case background on abortion appears relatively limited, though she clearly sides with Biden’s pro-abortion perspective.”
In a related story, The Washington Post reported:
“Jackson… ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to cut grant funding under the federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. In Policy and Research v. HHS, she found that the administration had not properly grounded its action in the mandates of the Administrative Procedure Act.”
Also, when Jackson was an attorney, she wrote an amicus brief in defense of a Massachusetts law that controlled actions within a certain distance of reproductive health care centers.
That brief appears to have pursued a balanced approach to protecting the free-speech rights of pro-life groups, but some argue it did not go far enough.
According to the brief, The Massachusetts Act regulates conduct within eighteen feet of a reproductive health care facility.
Within that narrow zone, the Act makes it unlawful to “knowingly approach within six feet of another person, without that person’s consent, for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education or counseling with such other person….”
“Contrary to the district court’s implication, the Act grew out of a sustained legislative effort to balance the free speech rights of abortion protesters against patients’ and providers’ right of access. The Legislature’s solution, developed by a working committee comprised of legislators with differing views on the issue, was a compromise:
“[The] statute…permits speakers on all sides of the abortion debate to voice their views about reproductive health services openly and vigorously, so long as, within an eighteen-foot radius of clinic entrances and driveways, such speakers do not approach within six feet of unconsenting individuals.”
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