Cat Got Amy Coney Barrett's Tongue On Whether We Could Execute Women For Having Abortions

SCOTUS

If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, it is highly likely that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. Heck, it's likely to be overturned even if she's not confirmed. Barrett's nomination mostly just means that it will be a really long time before that overturning gets overturned. Probably we will all be dead by then. Possibly from staph infections or pennyroyal tea overdoses.

In written questions following Barrett's confirmation hearings, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island asked what the fallout from overturning Roe v. Wade would look like for ordinary Americans, and Barrett just kept insisting that it wouldn't be "appropriate" for her to say what her opinion would be on these matters. Because it hasn't yet been overturned and is thus currently "hypothetical."

One of the things that would be inappropriate to comment on, she thinks, is whether or not it will be legal for states to declare abortion a capital crime and execute those who have them. This, one would think, might be something that should occur to someone on whose shoulders the future of legal abortion (at least partially) rests.


Via Senate Judiciary:


103. Under an originalist theory of interpretation, would there be any constitutional problem with a state making abortion a capital crime, thus subjecting women who get abortions to the death penalty?

RESPONSE: Please see my answer to Question 100.

This, by the way, was her answer to Question 100:

100. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, could a state pass a law making it a felony for a woman to get an abortion?

RESPONSE: As a sitting judge and as a judicial nominee, it would not be appropriate for me to offer an opinion on abstract legal issues or hypotheticals.

It doesn't really seem like this is much of an abstract hypothetical situation. Not only because Roe most likely will be overturned, but also because there are a whole lot of people out there who want abortion to be a capital crime, because of how very pro-life they are. Last November, in fact, the state of Ohio attempted to make it a capital crime to perform an abortion in the commission of another crime (for instance, if you stopped in the middle of a bank robbery to do a quick D&C). We live in a world where this is now a very real possibility, and we deserve to have some idea of what to expect in our futures.

This was not, of course, the only question for which Barrett answered "Please see my answer to Question 100."

Could a state make it a felony to have an abortion if Roe is overturned? "Please see my answer to Question 100."

Could a state ban in-vitro fertilization if Roe is overturned? "Please see my answer to Question 100."

Could a state ban birth control or prosecute someone for murder if they believed the same stupid things you believe about birth control? You guessed it — "Please see my answer to Question 100."

104. In 2012, you signed a letter organized by the Becket Fund about the ACA's birth control benefit and religious exemptions to it. The letter you signed inaccurately describes some forms of FDA-approved birth control as "abortion-inducing drugs" and emergency contraception as "embryo-destroying." If Roe v. Wade is overturned, could a state pass a law making it a felony for a woman to use FDA-approved emergency contraception or other forms of birth control?

RESPONSE: Please see my answer to Question 100.

105. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, could a state prosecute a woman who uses such FDA approved drugs for murder?

RESPONSE: Please see my answer to Question 100.

Clearly, she thought her answer to Question 100 was pretty, pretty clever.

Because of the way we still do things, apparently, Barrett cannot come out explicitly during her confirmation and say, "Yeah, I'd totally ban abortion even if it meant that those who have abortions could be sent to the chair." She has to at least pretend as though she is impartial, even though we all know she's not, given how many things she's signed over the years voicing her opposition to abortion, and then it is the job of Senate Democrats to demonstrate that she is full of shit. They did do this, of course — too bad it's not gonna really matter.

[Senate Judiciary/ H/T Ilyse Hogue]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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