For Immediate Release

March 4, 1999

Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, on the Death of Former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun

Washington DC — Women of the nation are indebted to former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. His decisions on abortion have saved the lives of tens of thousands of women and have improved the lives of millions more. He recognized that the “private sphere of individual liberty extends to women as well as to men.” He also recognized that a women’s right to choose abortion is fundamental. Without his Supreme Court decisions, millions of women throughout the United States would still be denied this basic fundamental right to control their reproductive lives.

Despite vilification and even threats to his life by extremists, including the “Army of God,” Blackmun never wavered in his commitment to guaranteeing individual liberties for women. History will record that his decisions were hallmarks in gaining women’s equality. He will go down in any 20th century analysis of the gains for women and the drive for equality as a quiet unassuming giant.


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