On Jan. 27, Justice Stephen Breyer announced his plan to retire from the United States Supreme Court when its term ends in the summer of 2022.
A brilliant, compassionate jurist, Breyer has been a champion for civil and reproductive rights. He has supported some of the nation’s most important decisions on reproductive freedom, and authored pivotal decisions reaffirming the constitutional right to abortion.
He also has dissented when the court failed to protect that right — most recently as the Supreme Court allowed Texas’s unconstitutional six-week abortion ban to take and remain in effect for months. Justice Breyer also played a key role in ensuring marriage equality, protecting the Affordable Care Act, and more.
With Breyer's retirement, President Biden now has a duty to select a qualified nominee who will protect and support access to sexual and reproductive health care, as Justice Breyer has done unwaveringly throughout his career — and champion the health and rights of all people for years to come.
Justice Breyer has been one of our strongest defenders of reproductive freedom, and we at Planned Parenthood thank him for his decades of service to the nation. His retirement comes at a time when access to abortion and other fundamental rights are under attack like never before, in no small part because the federal courts have allowed states to severely restrict the constitutional right to abortion. These threats show no signs of slowing down, and our Supreme Court should reflect our values and defend our constitutional rights.
We’re calling on President Biden to swiftly nominate a qualified candidate who knows that the Constitution protects individual liberty and our right to make decisions about our own bodies. They must also be a bold force working to end our country’s two very different, racially-divided systems of justice.
– Alexis McGill Johnson
President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Former President Trump and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell added three justices to the Supreme Court and filled more than 230 lifetime judicial seats in the lower federal courts. Many of those jurists have records of clear hostility to reproductive and civil rights. The new makeup of the courts has led state politicians opposed to reproductive rights to enact abortion bans and restrictions in the hope that the Supreme Court will now be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade – which the court may do by mid-2022, as the justices review Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.
In 2021, more than 100 abortion restrictions were enacted by states across the country — the most in a single year since Roe was decided. That includes S.B. 8, a radical abortion ban in Texas that the Supreme Court has allowed to remain in effect for nearly five months.
This Is an Important Opportunity
Tell President Biden to quickly nominate a qualified candidate who will protect and defend our civil and reproductive rights — including access to abortion.