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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (ChurchMilitant.com) - President Trump's Catholic High Court nominee has signaled her public opposition to abortion and forced coverage of contraception. Before becoming a judge, not only did she add her name to a two-page pro-life ad calling for an end to the "barbaric legacy" of Roe v. Wade, she also signed her name to a letter protesting Obamacare's contraceptive mandate.
In 2006, Judge Amy Coney Barrett added her name to an ad sponsored by St. Joseph County Right to Life, placed in the South Bend Tribune, calling for an end to Roe v. Wade:
The Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion for any reason. Now, after more than thirty-two years under Roe more than 47 million unborn children have been aborted. The majority of those abortions were performed for social reasons. Yet poll after poll continues to show that an increasing majority of Americans are opposed to abortion as a method of birth control. ... It's time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade and restore laws that protect the lives of unborn children.
Since the ad was placed more than a decade ago, the number of abortions has risen to approximately 60 million.
The second page of the ad lists hundreds of names, including that of Barrett and her husband, under the text "We, the following citizens ... oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death."
Barrett was a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School at the time.
According to the Des Moines Register, Barrett has not responded to queries about the ad. Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein is using it to argue that it raises "serious concerns about whether she [Barrett] would uphold the law."
Feinstein was widely criticized in 2017 for anti-Catholic bigotry.
"[W]hen you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that, the dogma lives loudly within you," said the California Democrat to Barrett during confirmation hearings for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, "and that's of concern when it comes to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country."
Barrett repeatedly said during her hearings that she would not allow her personal beliefs to affect her judicial decisionmaking. An originalist in the mold of her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett has also made clear in her writings and speeches that personal opinion or preference can never substitute for objective law.
In 2012, Barrett also added her name to a letter sponsored by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty blasting the religious accommodation provided for Obamacare's contraceptive mandate. More than 500 signatories added their names to the letter, titled "Unacceptable," which blasts Obama for requiring that faith-based employers take part — against their will — in a scheme that covers birth control for employees (including abortifacient contraceptives).
"This so-called 'accommodation' changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy," the letter states. "It is certainly no compromise."
"The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization," reads the letter. "This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand."
This accommodation was litigated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, who won a victory in the Supreme Court in July.
"For over 150 years, the Little Sisters have engaged in faithful service and sacrifice, motivated by a religious calling to surrender all for the sake of their brother," wrote Catholic Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion. "But for the past seven years, they — like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to today’s decision — have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs."
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — whose seat Barrett is being nominated to fill — lamented the ruling.
"Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree," she wrote. "Destructive of the Women's Health Amendment, this Court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer's insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets."
Barrett has been critical of Obamacare, charging in a 2017 article that Chief Justice John Roberts engaged in creative writing when he saved Obamacare in the 2012 case NFIB v. Sebelius: He "pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute."
"One would be hard-pressed to find many originalists who think that a court should find a way to uphold a statute when determinate text points in the opposite direction," she noted, going on to repeat Scalia's quip that Obamacare should have been renamed "SCOTUScare" after Roberts' decision.
In spite of the president's recent diagnosis, as well as two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee also infected with the Wuhan virus, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Barrett's confirmation hearings will proceed on Oct. 12, as originally planned.
If Barrett receives the needed votes, she may preside over a major case set to come before the High Court in November, calling into question the constitutionality of Obamacare.