Judge Sonia Sotomayor is sparking fears among pro-abortion advocates on the left who fear that she may be a closeted pro-life advocate, according to The Los Angeles Times.
They have seen no evidence that she supports upholding Roe Vs. Wade, and Sotomayor has never ruled on abortion or taken a public position in favor of pro-abortion rights.
In her only abortion-related decision, according to the Times, she did not come down the way abortion-rights groups would have liked. In 2002, Sotomayor, raised a Catholic, rejected a challenge to President Bush's "Mexico City policy," which required foreign groups receiving U.S. funds to pledge that they did not support or promote abortion. Republican presidents have adopted the policy in executive orders, while Democrats, including President Obama, have repealed it.
Sotomayor spoke for a three-judge panel that upheld the policy as constitutional. The government "is free to favor the antiabortion position over the pro-choice position and can do so with public funds," she said.
"I simply don't know Judge Sotomayor's view on Roe vs. Wade. I will be very concerned if the question is not asked and answered during the Senate hearings," Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Times.
Despite efforts to get clarification, Northup said, "So far, no one has been able to give us an assurance of her views."
Meanwhile, the White House is stressing that Obama doesn’t have a litmus test on abortion despite frequent campaign promises by the president to uphold abortion rights.
The Times also reports that Sotomayor joined an appeals court ruling that threw out a challenge to a school district's policy that required teachers to notify a parent if they saw that a girl was pregnant. The court said the teachers had no legal basis for objecting to the policy.
The Times speculates that Sotomayor’s murky position on abortion may have helped her win out over other candidates. Judge Diane P. Wood has a strong public record of supporting abortion rights. She dissented a decade ago when the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Wisconsin and Illinois bans on what opponents call "partial-birth abortion."
Wood also wrote two opinions upholding a Chicago jury's verdict that found antiabortion protesters had used illegal mob actions to shut down abortion clinics, according to the Times. The Supreme Court reversed both rulings.
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