NARAL BACKGROUNDER

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

 

March 2005

 

 

General Information:

 

The New York Times Dubs NARAL A “Liberal Group.” (Robin Toner and Neil Lewis, “Lobbying Starts As Groups Foresee Vacancy On Court,” The New York Times, 6/8/03)

 

·        NARAL Called A Group Of “Liberal” Women By MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. (MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” 11/18/04)

 

·        The Washington Post Calls NARAL A “Liberal Organization.” (Thomas Edsall, “Democrats' FEC Choice Challenges McCain-Feingold,” The Washington Post, 7/25/03)

 

NARAL Pro-Choice America Is “The Nation’s Leading Advocate For A Woman's Right To Choose And Right To Privacy.” (“NARAL Pro-Choice America Pledges To Capture The Spirit Of March For Womens Lives,” U.S. Newswire, 4/29/04)

 

NARAL Pro-Choice America Is “Stepping Up its Efforts To Turn The [March For Women’s Lives]'s Passion Into Grassroots Action To Protect Reproductive Freedom.”  (“NARAL Pro-Choice America Pledges To Capture The Spirit Of March For Womens Lives, U.S. Newswire, 4/29/04)

 

NARAL Strongly Advocates Unlimited Access To Abortion For The Entire Nine Months Of Pregnancy For Women Of All Ages, Including Young Girls, Without Parental Notification Or Consent.  (NARAL Website, www.naral.org, Accessed 3/23/05) 

 

NARAL Also Promotes Federal Funding Of All Abortions. (NARAL Website, www.naral.org, Accessed 3/23/05) 

 

NARAL Opposes Parental Consent Or Notification.  While seventy-eight percent of Americans support parental consent for minor girls and eighty percent support parental notification for minor girls, NARAL strongly opposes parental consent or even parental notification.  (NARAL Website, www.naral.org, Accessed 2000; Carey Goldberg Reporting A Poll By The New York Times/CBS, “Public Still Backs Abortion, But Wants Limits, Poll Says,” The New York Times, 1/16/98; Congressional Testimony, “Religious Liberty And Judiciary Bills Full Committee” Citing 1992 Poll By Wirthlin, 6/23/99)

 

NARAL Says President “Has Played Politics With Women’s Reproductive Health Throughout His Presidency.” (NARAL Website, “Fight Back Against Bush’s Anti-Birth Control Policy,” http://www.naral.org/takeaction/EC_prescription.cfm, Accessed 8/1/04)

 

NARAL Called Anti-Catholic.  As Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist writes in his book, The Hand Of God, “Our favorite tack was to blame The Church for the death of every woman from a botched abortion.”  Nathanson adds that NARAL founder Lawrence Lader was an admirer of eugenicist-racist Margaret Sanger. (“NARAL’s Roots Anti-Catholic,” Catalyst, 10/96) (emphasis added) 

 

NARAL Leadership:

 

NARAL’s Current President, Nancy Keenan, Served As A State Legislature And State Superintendent Of Education For Montana And Was Almost Excommunicated From The Catholic Church. (NARAL Website, www.naral.org, Accessed 3/23/05)

 

 

 

 

Kate Michelman, NARAL’s Past President, Said Her “‘Worst Nightmare’ Is That Bush Will Name Two Or Three Justices Who Are Ideological Clones To Justices Antonin Scalia And Clarence Thomas. (Greg Gordon, “Winner Will Make A Mark On The Bench,” Star Tribune, 9/27/04)

 

 

 

 

 

Contributions:

 

 

NARAL Has Given Over Fifteen Times More Money To Democrats Than Republicans.  Since 1997, NARAL has given $1,566,234 to Democrats and $111,754 to Republicans.  During the 2004 cycle alone, NARAL gave ninety-eight percent of its funds to Democrats and only two percent to Republicans. (The Center For Responsive Politics Website, www.opensecrets.org, Accessed 3/23/05)

 

NARAL ON JUDICIAL NOMINEES

 

NARAL’s Position On Prior Nominations:

 

NARAL Opposed The Nomination Of William Rehnquist As Chief Justice Of The U.S. Supreme Court.  Rehnquist was confirmed by a vote of 65-33. (NARAL Congressional Votes On Abortion-1986”)

 

NARAL Opposed The Nomination Of Antonin Scalia.  The Senate voted unanimously to confirm Scalia. (NARAL, “Congressional Votes On Abortion-1986”)

 

NARAL Opposed Souter’s Nomination To The U.S. Supreme Court.  “The pro-choice community is grateful to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) for his courage and integrity on the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose Souter.  On October 2, the Senate confirmed Souter by a vote of 90-9.  NARAL sincerely thanks Senator Kennedy and the eight other Senators who opposed the confirmation . . . .” (“NARAL’s Congressional Record On Abortion,” 1990)

 

NARAL Opposed The Nomination Of Clarence Thomas.  NARAL President Kate Michelman said Thomas poses “an enormous threat to American women and families.” (J. Craig Crawford, “Judgment Day For Thomas,” Orlando Sentinel, September 9, 1991)

 

NARAL Reserved Its Opinion On Anthony Kennedy Nomination Until After He Answered Questions Regarding His Position On Abortion. (Linda Greenhouse, “Supreme Court Nominations,” The New York Times, 12/4/87)

 

NARAL Reluctantly Endorsed Ruth Bader Ginsberg Nomination After She Clarifies That She Supported The Pro-Choice Position.  (Supreme Court: Judiciary Sets Hearings, The Hotline, 6/21/93)

 

NARAL Was Hesitant To Endorse Stephen Breyer Nomination Prior To Questioning By The Judiciary Committee Due To Undefined Views On Abortion Rights.  NARAL Later Acknowledged That Breyer Would Uphold Roe V. Wade And Therefore Supported Him. (“Hanging In The Balance,” Charlotte Observer, 4/25/04)

 

NARAL’s Position On Current Nominations:

 

After The Republicans Won Control Of The Senate, NARAL Resorts To The Filibuster To Block Nominations.  “[NARAL’s] focus will turn to the Senate floor, where the ‘blue slip’ process, filibusters, and legislative horse-trading may give liberal interest groups their best shot at influencing the [judicial nominations] process.” (Jonathan Groner, “A Major Shift In The Battle For The Bench,” Legal Times, 11/11/02)

 

NARAL Vows To Fight Bush’s Supreme Court Nominations.  “[I]f George Bush tries to pack the Supreme Court with out-of-touch far-right judges who want to take away our rights, he's going to hear from that pro-choice majority loud and clear.  We are dedicated to making sure that Roe v. Wade outlives the next four years of George W. Bush.” (NARAL, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Vows To Fight Threats To Roe V. Wade,” Press Release, 1/24/05)

 

NARAL: “If President Bush Were To Nominate Supreme Court Justices In The Mode Of Judges He Has Named So Far, The Right To Privacy And Right To Choose Would Be Doomed.” (NARAL, “News About Justice Rehnquist A Sobering Reminder Of The Stakes In This Election,” Press Release, 10/25/04)

 

Bush’s Nominations Are Out Of The Mainstream.  “‘It looks like Jerry Falwell got his Christmas wish list in to the president on time.  But even if he drops these nominations down the Senate's chimney, there's nothing he can do to make them any less out of the American mainstream,’ said NARAL President Nancy Keenan.” (Bill Sammon, “Bush Resends 20 Court Nominees,” The Washington Times, 12/24/04)

 

NARAL Acknowledges That Filibusters Of Judicial Nominations Are Not About Debate And Will Continue Indefinitely. “President Bush's anti-choice allies in the Senate have missed the point: the reason he can't get his judicial nominees confirmed is not a shortage of Senate debate, but an excess of anti-choice, anti-privacy activism.” (“NARAL Pro-Choice America Statement On Judicial Nominees,” U.S. Newswire, 11/12/03)

 

Janice Rogers Brown:

 

“Justice Brown Has Criticized The Constitutional Right To Privacy, And Expressed Hostility To Reproductive Choice.” (NARAL, “What Next For The Supreme Court?,” Press Release, 10/28/04)

 

“[Brown] Was … The Sole Dissenter In A Recent Decision Requiring Catholic Charities To Treat Prescription Contraception The Same As Other Drugs In Its Employee Health Plan.” (NARAL, “What Next For The Supreme Court?,” Press Release, 10/28/04)

 

Charles Pickering:

 

NARAL Opposes The Nomination Of Charles Pickering.  “Pickering . . . led the right-wing charge for the Republican Party's first call for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, he fought against choice and family planning as a Mississippi state legislator and he was an open opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment," said Kate Michelman, President of NARAL. (Beth Kanter, “A Rocky Milestone For Roe Vs. Wade,” Chicago Tribune, 1/30/02)

 

“Liberal Groups Such As The National Organization For Women, NAACP And NARAL Have Launched Campaigns Aimed At Drawing Attention To What They Say Is Pickering's Long History Of Racial And Gender Bias.” (Kathy Gambrell, “Bush Accuses Senate Of Blocking Nominees,” United Press International, 3/13/02)

 

Priscilla Owen:

 

“We Expect Pro-Choice Senators To Filibuster Against Priscilla Owen,” Stated Kate Michelman Head Of NARAL Pro-Choice America.  Michelman added “It was quite a gantlet thrown down by the president to the Senate in renominating Charles Pickering and Priscilla Owen.  The Senate needs to stand up against the president's intimidation and not let either one of these nominees be confirmed.” (Michele Mittelstadt, “A Second Showdown Over Bush Nominees,” The Dallas Morning News, 1/28/03)

“‘We Have Stopped Owen Before And We'll Do It Again,’” stated Michelman.  “Pro-Choice America will not stand idly by while President Bush pushes controversial candidates who want to take away our constitutional rights and freedoms.  We are working closely with our allies to ensure that Priscilla Owen is not going to make it through the Senate after being rejected last year.” (“Pro-Choice America Unveils http://www.StopOwen.org,” U.S. Newswire, 4/9/03)

 

NARAL Singles Out Owen Nomination.  Michelman asserts, "I recognize that the Senate can't filibuster every nominee who is a threat to the right to choose, [b]ut Owen has distinguished herself as having a real hostility to the right to choose, and I fully expect that pro-choice senators will filibuster." (Jonathan Groner and John Council, “Democrats Likely To Filibuster Owen Nomination,” Miami Daily Business Review, 3/20/03)

 

“[Owen] Is ‘Emblematic Of the Extreme Nominees That This President Has Attempted To Foist On The American People,’” Stated Ms. Michelman. (Lynn Vincent, “Tyranny Of The Minority,” World Magazine, 6/7/03)

 

Bill Pryor:

 

“‘Pryor Personifies The Essence Of The Bush Administration Plan To Pack The Courts With Right-Wing Ideologues,’” Stated Michelman.  “‘Pryor believes no right to privacy exists in the Constitution and has used extreme and inflammatory rhetoric opposing Roe v. Wade and other related Supreme Court decisions. This raises serious questions about his judicial temperament and ability to fairly decide matters pertaining to reproductive freedom.’”  (“Bush Court Nominee Calls Roe 'Abominable'; NARAL Pro-Choice America Opposes Bill Pryor Nomination,” U.S. Newswire, 6/11/03)