Souter Retirement a Blow to Reproductive Justice


By Rev. Veazey, President and CEO Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Major news sources are reporting that U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter will announce his retirement at the end of the court's term in June. As a faithful advocate for women and families, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice urges President Obama to replace the liberal Souter with another consistent supporter of reproductive rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court - the highest court in our land - is the protector of fundamental rights that ensure the safety, security, and freedoms of all Americans. While the Supreme Court supports the underlying principles of Roe v. Wade, it does so by the razor-thin margin of 5-4. (Justice Souter is counted as a supporter of Roe.) Given that narrow balance, President Obama's nominee should recognize that there are a wide range of religious beliefs and moral views about abortion and other reproductive decisions and no one viewpoint should be enshrined in law above all others. The Supreme Court must protect the fundamental right of women to make reproductive health decisions in keeping with their religious beliefs and conscience.

The decisions made by the Supreme Court directly influence the lives of every American, but vulnerable populations often have the most at stake. In recent years, women have lost protections for their reproductive health and safety at the hands of the Supreme Court, and more threats loom on the horizon.

  • Just two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Gonzales v. Carhart to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, which, for the first time, banned a specific medical procedure without an exception for a woman's health.
  • Anti-choice forces have been working tirelessly in several states to pass "fetal rights" measures in hopes that such legislation will be challenged in court and the Supreme Court will eventually be forced to reexamine - and overturn - Roe.

To keep our supporters informed, our Call to Justice campaign will be following every step of the Supreme Court nomination process. You can help by talking to your friends, family, and congregation about the importance of this vacancy with respect to women's health and safety. Encourage them to sign up for our Call to Justice action alerts so they can be informed and take action to protect our fundamental rights and safety.


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