On Saturday, President Trump nominated the Honorable Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to join the Supreme Court of the United States. Pro-life groups quickly hailed the nomination. Judge Barrett identifies herself as an originalist who is committed to following the Constitution as written. Even legal scholars who support abortion readily admit that Roe v. Wade lacks any basis in the text of the Constitution, so it is a safe assumption that an originalist judge will oppose Roe and support states’ ability to enact laws protecting children in the womb. Pro-lifers are also encouraged by Judge Barrett’s scholarly writings on the doctrine of stare decisis.
The last time a vacancy appeared on the Supreme Court, Secular Pro-Life organized a campaign urging President Trump to nominate a pro-life woman. Instead, he chose Justice Kavanaugh. This time around, we finally get our wish.
Having a pro-life woman on the nation’s highest court is critical for two reasons. The first is a matter of representation. You wouldn’t know it from mainstream media coverage, but a majority of American women hold anti-abortion positions. 51% want abortions to either be completely illegal, or only legal in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. 62% support a ban on abortions after five months (20 weeks). None of those policies can be enforced while Roe remains in place.
And yet of the four women to serve on the Supreme Court so far, all four have consistently ruled in favor of abortion industry interests. This gross misrepresentation is in urgent need of correction. Of course, even Judge Barrett’s successful elevation to the Court will not be enough to give pro-life women a proportional voice, but it’s a start. 20% is better than 0%.
The second reason has to do with a doctrine called the “reliance interest,” which liberal Justices invented to rationalize Roe as it came under heavy criticism. The argument is that even if Roe is wrong, we can’t turn back now, because women have come to rely on legal abortion. We have, the Court condescendingly tells us, “organized intimate relationships and made choices that define [our] views of [our]selves and [our] places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail,” and “ordered [our] thinking and living around” Roe v. Wade. Justice Ginsburg took it a step further, claiming that women cannot even “enjoy equal citizenship stature” without the ability to kill our babies. I am a well-educated professional woman, and to say that this notion offends me does not begin to describe my level of disgust.
Judge Barrett is a living, breathing rebuke to proponents of the reliance interest. She is a brilliant lawyer and scholar, deeply admired even by her legal adversaries. She is also a mother of seven, including a child with Down Syndrome. Those two aspects of her life are not in conflict. Judge Barrett’s biography proves that, shockingly, work-life balance is achievable without dismembering any babies.
And before you go arguing that we secular folks should oppose Judge Barrett because she’s a religious extremist whose church inspired The Handmaid’s Tale, you should know that’s a bald-faced lie which has been debunked even by Vox and the Atlantic, neither of which is friendly to the pro-life cause. Besides, not a single sitting Justice is religiously unaffiliated, and Roe v. Wade itself is steeped in superstitious nonsense.
The time has come for a pro-life woman on the Supreme Court. Bring on the hearings.