Back to square one for pro-choice groups

The Miers resignation has feminist organizations crying conspiracy.

Published October 27, 2005 3:39PM (EDT)

Harriet Miers' withdrawal of her candidacy for the Supreme Court has at least two major feminist organizations decrying the move as evidence of the pressure applied on the Bush administration by right-wing extremists. Two press releases flew into Broadsheet's in box this morning -- the first, from Nancy Keenan of NARAL, reads:

"The withdrawal of this nomination exposes the right wing's real agenda. They won't be satisfied unless the president puts forth a nominee who is an avowed opponent of Roe v. Wade and who will shift the Court in a direction that threatens fundamental freedoms and liberties Americans cherish."

Those fears surface again in a second release, sent by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and titled "Bush Must Nominate Mainstream, Fair-Minded Candidate to Replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor ... Back to Square One:"

This "decision should serve as an alert to all Americans of the growing power of extremist fringe groups to set the national agenda," writes PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl. "Miers' withdrawal is a warning to all Americans that extremist groups are setting President Bush's national agenda. Miers was not extremist enough for groups that seek to impose a narrow ideological agenda on all of us."

So, what's next? PPFA lays out this challenge to the White House: "Seize this opportunity to nominate a fair-minded nominee who clearly supports our fundamental privacy and reproductive rights."

We'll see.

By Sarah Karnasiewicz

Sarah Karnasiewicz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Until recently, she was senior editor at Saveur magazine; prior to that she was deputy Life editor at Salon. She has contributed to the New York Times, the New York Observer and Rolling Stone, among other publications. For more of her work, visit and Signs and Wonders.

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