The following is a press release issued by NOW President Kim Gandy.
Roe v. Wade is in more danger today than at any other time in the last 29 years. George W. Bush’s anti-abortion agenda could completely tip the scales of justice against women’s rights. His commitment to stacking the federal courts with right-wing ideologues is frighteningly clear.
Our clear message to the Senate is this: you many not negotiate away our rights. And you have more to fear from the women’s vote than from right wing ideologues in the Bush administration. Come November, supporters of reproductive rights will remember every Senator who failed to oppose George Bush’s effort to stack the federal courts with anti-abortion, anti-woman judges.
To any Senator – Democrat or Republican – who votes to confirm such judges: you might as well start packing your bags now. Last night I joined with Washington area activists at a vigil in front of the Supreme Court building. Events like that are a launch pad for the mock filibusters, sit-ins and meetings that NOW chapters across the country will hold in their Senator’s home offices on March 8, International Women’s Day. At these events activists will urge their Senators to stand up for women’s rights and do whatever it takes to stop George Bush from stacking the federal courts with ultra-conservative judges.
To date, Bush has sent 66 nominations to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate has already confirmed 28 of them for lifetime appointments (22 trial level and 6 appellate level). The Judiciary Committee has held 11 hearings on judicial nominees since July, while during the Clinton years the Republican-dominated committee held barely half a dozen hearings per year.
Bush’s judicial appointees serve for life – they’ll be on the bench for decades after Bush leaves office. Just a few new judicial appointments by Bush could result in every federal circuit being dominated by right-wing judges. And with all the circuits in conservative alignment, fewer cases will make it to the Supreme Court. We need justices committed to justice for women, not ideologues committed to turning back the clock.
Every woman and every man who cares about women’s reproductive freedom and bodily integrity needs to be on guard – on the phone, on the internet and on record demanding that their U.S. Senators not only commit to vote against, but commit to filibuster every single bad nominee as long as it takes until George Bush gets the message that we will not go back to the back alleys.