The topic of abortion has come and gone in Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings and I feel like I can exhale.
It’s not that the hot political issue was covered. Senators on both sides of the aisle questioned the Supreme Court nominee and protesters screamed out from the stands, but Sotomayor refused to take a stance on whether she personally is pro-choice or not. Instead, in savvy and straightforward responses, she continually said she could not answer abstract questions about abortion.
When faced with a string of questions by Sen. Tom Coburn on abortion rights, viability, and Roe v. Wade, including a hypothetical question about late-term terminations, Sotomayor stood steadily neutral.
“I can’t answer that question in the abstract. I would have to look at what the state’s law was on that issue. Is the state regulation an undue burden? I can’t look at it as an abstract. I’m sure that situation might well arise before the court,” she responded.
As a woman and a mother and a voter, I don’t feel any need to dance around my own opinion about being pro-choice and wanting pro-choice politicians in office and judges in courtrooms. I want to ensure that my rights and the reproductive rights of women for generations to come are solidly backed by the law. However, I applaud Sotomayor for sticking to the federal and state laws rather than waving a pro-choice or anti-abortion sign in the air. This is, after all, her job — not to stand on a soapbox to tell the world her personal opinions, but to sit behind the bench, hear cases, and interpret and abide by the law.
Despite all the questions, baiting, and need for viewers to hear her declare an abortion allegiance, she’s kept it simple. She’s been strategic. She’s held strong. I like that.
A lot of people won’t agree with me. In fact, an AP poll taken during two previous Supreme Court confirmation hearings showed that a slight majority of Americans believe nominees should have to state their views on abortion.