Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings on Tuesday unearthed a lot more questions than they did answers. Though he remained vague when asked how he’d rule on a variety of subjects, Gorsuch’s previous statements give a bit more insight, especially where women’s health issues are concerned. The following Neil Gorsuch quotes about abortion and women’s health shed light on how he’s likely to rule in the future as a Supreme Court justice.
In the past, when asked for his own opinions on the constitutionality of women's health laws, by and large, Gorsuch has often referred to existing laws as his response. Rather than inserting his own opinions, he generally tends to quote specific aspects of the Constitution as a way to justify his stance. In short, he appears to value impartiality over all else. Gorsuch previously acknowledged this tendency himself, telling Tuesday's audience: "I have offered no promises on how I’d rule in any case to anyone, and I don’t think it’s appropriate for a judge to do so," while promising that he would work to keep "an open mind."
Whereas he has refrained from answering many direct questions on other topics, however, Gorsuch has been more open about his thoughts on existing Supreme Court rulings on what remains a highly-contested issue in Trump’s presidency: abortion rights. His commentary, shown below, speaks for itself.
“Roe v. Wade … is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed.”
In Tuesday’s hearings, Gorsuch appeared to insist that he would not overturn Roe v. Wade — what was meant to be the “final say” regarding a women’s right to choose.
“Under Roe’s express holding, a fetus does not qualify as a person.”
Gorsuch’s language remains very technical. Rather than asserting his own opinions, he often looks to the law as it stands instead. Here, Gorsuch holds to the literal definition of a fetus, as stated in the court case, affirming in his 2006 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, that "a fetus does not qualify as a person."
“No constitutional basis exists for preferring the mother’s liberty interests over the child’s life.”
According to The Chicago Tribune, in a previous writing, Gorsuch was sure to stress what the law recognizes as valid, rather than what he believes, personally, to be “right.” In this case, however, he refers to the unborn fetus as a "child," defending its rights on the same level as its mother's. Thus, Gorsuch's views on abortion in this sense are a bit unclear.
“It is not for secular courts … to decide whether a religious teaching about complicity imposes ‘too much’ moral disapproval on those only ‘indirectly’ assisting wrongful conduct.”
Known for his commentary on the famed Hobby Lobby case, Gorsuch at the time vigorously defended the "religious freedom" of companies like the aforementioned Hobby Lobby, which, in this case, meant defending their right to deny providing birth control to employees, a measure that the Affordable Care Act required.
“‘Many’ women use their companies for maternity benefits and then leave the company after the baby is born.” (**Alleged statement)
A former student claimed that, in Gorsuch's speaking to a class of law students, he insisted that women exploit their employers to glean maternity benefits, planning to leave immediately upon having their children. Gorsuch denied this in his confirmation hearing, though, instead insisting that many "inappropriate" questions are poised to women in the workplace. (Spokespersons for Gorsuch did not respond to an earlier Romper request for comment on the alleged statements.)
Whatever dodging Gorsuch may have done in his Supreme Court nomination hearings so far, his own previous writings and public comments speak volumes. It's up to the public and Congress, now, to read them.