- July 22 - On July 23, 2002, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the
nomination of Priscilla Owen to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The National
Abortion Federation opposes the nomination of Priscilla Owen because of her troubling
record of judicial activism and demonstrated bias against reproductive rights.
NAF has reviewed Owen's record in parental notification cases which have come
before her as a Texas Supreme Court Justice. Owen's record displays a consistent
bias against young women seeking abortions. In all five parental notification
cases where there has been a written opinion (and in eleven out of twelve total
parental notification decisions), Owen has regularly voted to deny young women
access to abortion. In so doing, she has disregarded her proper role as an impartial
judge in furtherance of her personal ideology.
In these cases, Owen has attempted to impose unconstitutional religious requirements
on minors, and has trivialized such serious factors as abuse, parental disownment,
and medical risks. Owen has explicitly refused to abide by the rule of law in
regard to the parental notification statute's judicial bypass provision, which
she dismisses as something which the legislature "surely" could not
This blatant lack of judicial restraint has been so extreme as to warrant condemnation
from other conservative judges. Even White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, has
chastised Owen for her "unconscionable judicial activism."
The National Abortion Federation believes Priscilla Owen lacks the appropriate
and necessary judicial restraint and impartiality required for a federal appellate
judge. NAF urges the Senate Judiciary committee to reject the nomination of Priscilla
Owen to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
NAF's full report on Priscilla Owen is available upon request, and can be
viewed at NAF's Web site, http://www.prochoice.org.
The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion
providers in the US and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe,
legal and accessible.