The Worst Judges On

Reproductive Health Care

President Trump has made clear that he will only nominate judges who pass his litmus test of overturning Roe v. Wade. He said overturning Roe “will happen automatically…because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.” The Senate has confirmed scores of judges who were previously lawyers fighting against access to abortion, access to contraceptives, and, in some cases, reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization and surrogacy.
Below are 15 Trump judges who, at the time of their confirmation, had records fighting access to reproductive health care.

J. Campbell Barker (Eastern District of Texas) was a lead attorney defending Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (“TRAP”) anti-choice laws, which the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Amy Coney Barrett (Seventh Circuit) has been critical of Roe v. Wade. Barrett also signed a letter criticizing the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide contraceptive coverage as part of their employer-sponsored health insurance plans.

Jeffrey Brown (Southern District of Texas) bragged about his involvement in making it more difficult for minors to seek abortion care in Texas, referred to IUDs and emergency contraceptives as “potentially life-terminating drugs and devices,” and was endorsed by major anti-choice organizations in Texas.

John Bush (Sixth Circuit) likened abortion to slavery: “The two greatest tragedies in our country—slavery and abortion—relied on similar reasoning and activist justices at the U.S. Supreme Court, first in the Dred Scott decision, and later in Roe.”

Stephen Clark (Eastern District of Missouri) said that Roe v. Wade “gave doctors a license to kill unborn children. Like the Dred Scott decision, Roe is BAD law.”

Kyle Duncan (Fifth Circuit) represented Hobby Lobby in its efforts to avoid providing contraceptive coverage to over 13,000 employees as required by the Affordable Care Act.

Brett Kavanaugh (Supreme Court), while on the D.C. Circuit, dissented in a case that upheld the right to abortion of a young immigrant woman in government custody after she successfully followed and completed all of the burdensome requirements mandated by Texas to have the procedure.

Jonathan Kobes (Eighth Circuit) represented, pro bono, a group of fake health centers seeking to uphold a South Dakota law that required physicians to read a predetermined script to women seeking an abortion. Under the law, the abortion care provider was required to tell women seeking abortion care that abortion ends “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,” that she has an “existing relationship” with the “unborn human being,” and that abortion increases the risk of suicide.

Mark Norris (Western District of Tennessee) co-sponsored a resolution in Tennessee that would ban abortion even if necessary to protect the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest. Also, as a state legislator he voted for a resolution urging Congress to overturn the ACA’s contraceptive-coverage policy.

Andrew Oldham (Fifth Circuit) was a lead attorney defending Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws. Oldham also defended Texas’s effort to bar reproductive health organizations from receiving funding through the Texas Women’s Health Program.

Sarah Pitlyk (Eastern District of Missouri) devoted nearly her entire career to fighting women’s reproductive freedom. She has criticized “gross defects in the Supreme Court’s thoroughly activist abortion jurisprudence,” and defended Iowa’s unconstitutional “Heartbeat Bill.” In addition, she has defended David Daleiden, the architect of the deceptively-edited “sting” videos which purport to show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal parts for money. She opposes assistive reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization and surrogacy and has fought for the personhood status of embryos, even suggesting that disposing of unused embryos is akin to murdering children.

Lee Rudofsky (Eastern District of Arkansas) questioned the constitutional basis of the right to an abortion and defended corporations that wanted to deny reproductive health care coverage to employees. He led the effort to strip Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood in Arkansas. Rudofsky also supported Arkansas’ efforts to implement a 12-week abortion ban—and, more broadly, has supported targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP laws) that aim to impose unnecessary, burdensome requirements on abortion providers.

Michael Truncale (Eastern District of Texas) boasted on his 2012 campaign website that he was “the only congressional candidate to participate in a recent March for Life, ecumenical March for Life.” He called for defunding Planned Parenthood and opposed the ACA’s contraceptive-coverage policy.  Truncale was particularly vicious about Wendy Davis, the Texas Democrat who in 2015 held a thirteen-hour-long filibuster to block a bill that severely restricted abortion care in Texas, stating that her “Claim to fame-kills little girls.”

Wendy Vitter (Eastern District of Louisiana) urged supporters to distribute materials that claimed abortion services are a cause of breast cancer and that birth control pills “kill” and make a woman more likely to be the victim of violent assault and murder. Vitter also publicly lauded how Texas has “led the nation in some very pro-life, restrictive laws,” and how anti-choice activists “are making great strides in making it very difficult to get abortions in Texas.”

Allen Winsor (Northern District of Florida) defended a Florida law that imposed a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before accessing abortion care. Winsor also filed an amicus brief in opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate.