Supreme Court Nominee Barrett Tells Senate Committee She Signed On to Pro-Life Ad

October 10, 2020 Updated: October 10, 2020

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett signed on to an advertisement that called for the protection of unborn children while she was working as a law professor at Notre Dame, according to supplemental material that was filed to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday.

The ad was published in a student newspaper and sponsored by the group “University Faculty for Life” of which Barrett was a member. Barrett’s name appeared along with dozens of other university faculty members and staff who signed on to express concern over the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the nation.

“In the 40 years since the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision, over 55 million unborn children have been killed by abortions,” the advertisement stated (pdf). “We renew our call for the unborn to be protected in law and welcomed in life.”

Barrett did not indicate when the ad was published in the paper.

The advertisement was disclosed as part of an 11-page supplemental material submitted by Barrett to the Senate committee ahead of her confirmation hearing, which is scheduled to begin on Oct. 12. The committee told media outlets that additional filings are not unusual.

This is the second pro-life advertisement that Barrett has signed on to, which have been made public. Media reports said that Barrett and her husband Jesse had signed on a two-page pro-life advertisement in 2006 published by the St. Joseph County Right to Life group in the South Bend Tribune.

Supreme Court Barrett
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, meets with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 1, 2020. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

The 2006 advertisement was not disclosed in Barrett’s first response to a Senate committee questionnaire (SJQ), prompting criticism and questions from Senate Democrats over the omission.

“Absent from those materials was a 2006 open letter, bearing Judge Barrett’s name, that opposed women’s reproductive freedoms and explicitly called for overturning Roe v. Wade. For example, the letter referred to ‘the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade,’” the senators wrote in a letter to the Justice Department.

“The failure to disclose the 2006 letter leads to additional questions about other potentially missing materials. The omission also raises concerns that the process of collecting materials responsive to the SJQ, like the nomination process itself, has been rushed, for no legitimate reason.”

Barrett’s participation in these advertisements is likely to draw scrutiny from lawmakers during the upcoming hearing, as lawmakers continue to seek her position on Roe. Senate Democrats have repeatedly expressed concerns about Barrett’s conservative views and how they could likely impact social issues such as access to abortion.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told ABC’s “The View” that part of the Democrats’ strategy against the judge is to “let the American people know that their specific rights are at stake.” The senator said the debate would be focused on issues such as healthcare and abortion.

Senators during Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing for her nomination to the 7th Circuit Court also heavily questioned the then-professor about her views on Roe and whether she was able to separate her religious views from her legal opinions.

In her filing on Friday, Barrett also disclosed two informal talks she held with student groups in 2013. The topics of both talks involved Roe and the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence relating to abortion.

She also disclosed a small article in a student newspaper she wrote encouraging students to participate in a career fair and an article in which she made comments about the school’s honor council.

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