Trump’s Renomination of Anti-Abortion Judges Could Dismantle Reproductive Rights
For Immediate Release: Jan. 23, 2019 (Updated: Jan. 23, 2019, 11 a.m.)
Nearly one-in-five lifetime federal judges are now Trump nominees
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House announced the renomination of four of Trump’s anti-abortion, anti-women’s health judicial nominees for lifetime seats on the federal bench: Wendy Vitter, Matthew Kacsmaryk, Michael Truncale and Brian Buescher. Planned Parenthood Action Fund opposes these re-nominations for their flagrant hostility toward reproductive rights. These nominees are part of a broader strategy by the Trump-Pence administration to stack the federal courts with conservative, anti-abortion judges by any means necessary. Only two years into this administration, nearly one in five lifetime seats on the federal bench are now filled by Trump-Pence nominees, and many are openly anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ activists.
Statement from Dana Singiser, Senior Vice President, Policy, Campaigns, and Advocacy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
The courts’ power to dictate people’s access to health care cannot be overstated. Long after Trump and Pence are out of office, the judges they put on the bench will continue restricting people’s access to abortion, birth control, and basic care for generations. Brian Buescher stated unequivocally that he favors banning abortion, and Wendy Vitter promoted the baseless idea that birth control is bad for a woman’s health. The American people want and deserve judges who will safeguard their rights, rather than try to impose their personal beliefs on all people. We call on all senators to reject these and any nominees who will not protect individual liberties and freedoms.
Trump has appointed a record number of federal judges, including more circuit court nominees than any president in modern history at this point in their term. Following Trump’s promise to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade, most of these nominees are extremely conservative, and many hold views that are hostile to reproductive health and rights.
For example, Trump’s nominees include:
- Brian Buescher, District Court of Nebraska Nominee: Buescher does not believe abortion should be legal even in cases of rape or incest and supports “defunding” Planned Parenthood health centers.
- Wendy Vitter, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Nominee: Vitter has received the lowest qualified rating by the American Bar Association. Vitter made headlines last spring for withholding information from the Senate Judiciary committee about her anti-abortion record, publicly misrepresenting her background in a confirmation hearing, and failing to state whether landmark cases Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade were correctly decided. One of the activities Vitter omitted was how she moderated an anti-abortion panel, where she promoted the baseless claim that women who take contraceptive pills are more likely to die violent deaths.
- Matthew Kacsmaryk, District Court of the Northern District of Texas Nominee:Kacsmaryk has represented religiously affiliated institutions that oppose the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, advancing arguments that falsely equate certain methods of birth control to abortion. Kacsmaryk has also disputed the legal foundation of Roe v. Wade, and has argued that the legal right to abortion has weakened the institution of marriage.
- Michael Truncale, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Nominee:Truncale has called for “defunding” Planned Parenthood, boasted about marching in an anti-abortion rally, and has criticized former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who undertook a 13-hour filibuster to delay a vote on a restrictive anti-abortion bill. Mr. Truncale’s speech notes say: “Wendy Davis’ Claim to fame – kills little girls” and “she wants to kill babies five months into term.”
As more and more anti-abortion bills are signed into law in the states, courts are often the only line of defense to protect our rights — including the right to control our own bodies guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. It is imperative that we continue to fight against these and any other nominees that threaten our right to bodily autonomy.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.