From my email inbox comes a great op-ed by Democratic State Rep. Chris Taylor addressing Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley’s alarming positions on reproductive health care for women.
Justice Rebecca Bradley’s consistent and alarming positions on reproductive health care should concern anyone who believes that women have constitutional rights to make child bearing decisions, because she has made it remarkably clear that she does not. This is especially relevant because over the last five years, Governor Walker and Republicans in the legislature have launched an unprecedented attack on access to reproductive health care, causing litigation in Wisconsin over hospital admitting privileges and medication abortion that shows no signs of easing. The only relief from the myriad of abortion restrictions and limits on birth control are our courts.
Her early columns reveal her opinions on the topic of reproductive health care, which are consistent with more recent views that she has refused to disavow. In addition to comparing abortion to the holocaust, she has equated birth control with murder. In a 1992 column entitled “Right should extend into the womb,” she ridicules the right of women to control their own bodies and advances a personhood argument – that a fertilized egg should be afforded the rights and privileges of an actual person. Personhood constitutional amendments have been pushed by anti-choice crowds in other states and in Wisconsin. These efforts, including in North Dakota and Mississippi, have gone down in flames once voters realize that the effect of recognizing a fertilized egg as a person effectively outlaws most forms of hormonal birth control, including birth control pills.
In a 2006 column, Justice Bradley argues that “contraceptives may cause the death of a conceived, unborn child” and that pharmacists should be able to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions if they object “to being a party to murder.” As egregious, Justice Bradley erroneously claims that these statements are “scientifically supported.” She makes a similar claim in her 1992 column by saying that personhood is an idea “widely established by the scientific community.” Yet these incorrect medical statements aren’t from the scientific community, but from right-wing extremist groups who oppose birth control and abortion.
Let me be clear: The medical consensus is that birth control does not cause an abortion. In fact, contraception is defined by a number of experts, including Physicians for Reproductive Health, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and The American Medical Women’s Association as a method that “prevents a pregnancy from taking place.”
Justice Bradley has shown she is not fit to sit on the state’s highest court and cannot be trusted with these most private, fundamental rights – rights that are protected by the United States Constitution. Will a justice who truly believes that abortion is tantamount to the holocaust protect a woman’s right to have an abortion? Will a justice who believes that birth control is tantamount to murder protect a woman’s ability to access birth control?
These rights are too important, and too precious, to put in the hands of a justice who seems more wedded to extreme views than to truly protecting our most precious constitutional rights. Justice Rebecca Bradley needs to resign from the Wisconsin Supreme Court.