National Partnership for Women & Families

"Ayotte Supreme Court Decision Underscores Critical Rights at Stake"

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — January 18, 2006 —
"In today's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, all nine justices declined to revisit important Supreme Court’s precedents protecting a woman's health and upholding her right to choose.

But the Supreme Court punted to the lower court the ultimate decision on whether the New Hampshire statute should be overturned. New Hampshire's law is especially callous because it provides no exception for women whose health would be endangered. We continue to believe that the New Hampshire law is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s precedents and should be overturned.

It is noteworthy that in this decision Justice O'Connor writes that the Court is not revisiting precedents on reproductive choice “today”. The opinion leaves open the very real possibility that these important precedents could be revisited in the next case to come before the Court.

The Ayotte decision underscores just how much is at stake with the nomination of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court. Americans will have vast reason to worry if the Senate confirms Judge Alito, whose record of hostility to women’s reproductive rights is well documented and who has repeatedly declined to say that Roe v. Wade is settled law. That must not happen."

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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