Planned Parenthood slams Alito

The president of the organization calls his possible confirmation "a direct threat to the health and safety of American women."

Published October 31, 2005 2:04PM (EST)

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, one of the few women's rights groups to maintain a wait-and-see attitude after the nomination of John Roberts, was this morning one of the first out of the gate with a press release slamming new Bush Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

"Planned Parenthood Opposes Nomination of Samuel Alito to U.S. Supreme Court," began the release. In it, Planned Parenthood president Karen Pearl says, "It is outrageous that President Bush would replace a moderate conservative like Justice O'Connor with a conservative hardliner. There is no room on the court for someone with a judicial philosophy that places at risk the rights, freedoms, and liberties that Americans hold dear."

The release chronicles Alito's record on women's rights: He was the lone dissenter when Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey was tried before the Third Circuit, voting to uphold Pennsylvania's spousal notification requirement, which would have required women to notify their husbands before obtaining an abortion.

While ruling on an abortion regulation (Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey v. Farmer) that did not contain a valid health exception for the life of the woman, the release states, Alito "grudgingly applied" the Supreme Court precedents to overturn the statute while refusing to endorse the reasoning of the Supreme Court in either case.

The statement goes on to remind readers about the Supreme Court's upcoming hearing in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood at the end of November, a case that will help decide "whether a woman's health will remain the paramount concern in laws that restrict abortion access."

Alito's "confirmation would radically transform the Supreme Court and create a direct threat to the health and safety of American women," Pearl says.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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