Alito & Abortion

by Shannen W. Coffin

Kathryn already hit a little on this in Bench Memos: Several media outlets have already begun breathless reporting suggesting that Sam Alito is reflexively “anti-choice.” When asked “what we know about Sam Alito” by Imus this morning, Andrea Mitchell immediately reported that “we know that he was a dissenting judge on the issue of spousal notification” in the case that became Planned Parenthood v. Casey. What she didn’t report was that he also concurred in an opinion striking down New Jersey’s partial birth abortion statute because he felt he had an obligation to follow the Supreme Court’s decision in Carhart v. Stenberg, and that he held that a Clinton administration policy prohibiting states from adding additional conditions to Medicaid funding of abortions properly invalidated a Pennsylvania state law that required women seeking state-funded abortions in the cases of rape to report the crimes.

If media outlets are going to report on the Casey opinion, they need to review all of Alito’s opinions that relate to the abortion issue. What they show, in toto, is a careful jurist committed to the rule of law, not a “pro-life” judge or a “pro-choice” judge.

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