Both Sides of Abortion Issue Attack Souter

From Times Wire Services

Supporters of abortion rights asked the Senate Judiciary Committee today to reject David H. Souter’s nomination to the Supreme Court. “The health and lives of millions of American women” are at stake, they said.

A leading conservative, meanwhile, said Souter should not be confirmed because he hasn’t done enough to stop abortion.

In three days of testimony that ended Monday night, Souter declined to disclose his views on abortion. The nominee said he had not made up his mind on whether to overturn the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion.

“We consider placing Judge Souter on the Supreme Court to be too great a risk,” said Kate Michelman, executive director of the National Abortion Rights Action League.


“The health and lives of million of American women, for generations to come, may depend on where David Souter stands,” said Faye Wattleton, president of Planned Parenthood of America.

Molly Yard, president of the National Organization for Women, told the committee that Souter’s testimony should raise concern not only that he would cast the deciding vote in an abortion challenge, but a Supreme Court that includes Souter also could reverse earlier privacy rulings establishing a right to use birth control devices.

“I tremble for this country if you confirm David Souter,” Yard said.

A strong anti-abortion conservative, Howard Phillips, said that Souter should be rejected as too pro-abortion. Phillips, chairman of the Conservative Caucus, noted that Souter served on the boards of two hospitals where abortions were performed and had gone along with the practice.