Dem ’08ers Attack Supreme Court Ruling

By Paul Fidalgo

Apr 18, 2007 3:16pm

ABC News’ Jonathan Greenberger, Eloise Harper, and Raelyn Johnson Report: The three frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination expressed their opposition to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Wednesday upholding the ban on so-called partial birth abortions.

"This decision marks a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman’s right to choose and recognized the importance of women’s health," said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in a statement. 

"As the Supreme Court recognized in Roe v. Wade in 1973, this issue is complex and highly personal; the rights and lives of women must be taken into account.  It is precisely this erosion of our constitutional rights that I warned against when I opposed the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito," said Clinton.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said in his statement that he "strongly disagrees" with the ruling, claiming that it "dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women."

"As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman’s medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient," said Obama.  "I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman’s right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women."

Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., announced his frustration with the ruling, saying, "I could not disagree more with today’s Supreme Court decision.  The ban upheld by the Court is an ill-considered and sweeping prohibition that does not even take account for serious threats to the health of individual women."

While Edwards is a known supporter of both abortion and women’s rights, he was absent on the day the Senate passed the ban in 2003.  The women’s advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice, went on to give Edwards a 100% rating for his pro-choice voting record.  Speaking of NARAL, Edwards tapped the former head of the organization, Kate Michelman, to become a senior adviser to his 2008 presidential campaign, charged with organizing women and tailoring campaign issues for them.

On today’s ruling, Edwards added, "This hard right turn is a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the 2008 election. Too much is at stake – starting with, as the Court made all too clear today, a woman’s right to choose."

In proclaiming their opposition to the ruling, the three leading Democratic candidates place themselves more in line with the Democratic primary voting electorate than with the country at large, according to several national polls.

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