Alito Memorandum Demonstrates Hostility to Women’s Reproductive Rights

Unquestionable evidence of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito’s efforts to undercut women’s reproductive rights surfaced yesterday in a memorandum he wrote while serving in the Reagan Justice Department. In his 1985 memorandum (PDF) to the solicitor general, Alito advised against “a frontal assault” on Roe v. Wade that could result in rulings affirming the decision. Instead he mapped out a strategy to undermine Roe to provide “greater recognition of the states’ interest in protecting the unborn throughout pregnancy” that would also not even “tacitly concede Roe‘s legitimacy.” The memorandum belies Alito’s recent attempts to distance himself from statements in his 1985 job application to become assistant attorney general when he wrote that he was “particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that … the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.”

Alito even used language blurring the distinction between abortion and birth control He posed the extraordinary and shocking question: “What, for example is the objection to informing a woman that certain methods of birth control are ‘abortiafacients,’ i.e., that they do not prevent fertilization but terminate the development of the fetus after conception?” as he advocated for state regulations requiring women seeking an abortion be given information including adoption opportunities, fetal development and the possibility of “unforeseeable detrimental effects” of the procedure.

“This latest revelation shows not only abortion but even some forms of birth control may be in jeopardy with an Alito appointment,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Will he develop a slippery slope for the more effective forms of birth control?”

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Text of memorandum

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