President Trump nominated Wendy Vitter for a lifetime appointed position as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Her Senate confirmation hearings included questioning about statements she made in 2013 at a pro-life rally. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) repeatedly asked whether she still believes that Planned Parenthood kills more than 150,000 females a year.
According to the Clarion Herald, a New Orleans-based newspaper, her original words were: “Planned Parenthood says they promote women’s health. It is the saddest of ironies that they kill over 150,000 females a year. The first step in promoting women’s health is to let them live.”
Outlets such as HuffPo called these “pretty strong comments” and implied they should therefore cast doubt on her nomination. But they’re accurate. If anything, in fact, Vitter underestimated Planned Parenthood’s annual female death toll.
Planned Parenthood’s 2016-2017 report lists 321,384 abortions performed in 2016. Slightly more boys are born than girls (51.2 percent), although it’s impossible to tell if that ratio matches conception ratios of boys and girls, given miscarriages and sex-selective abortions, where women have an abortion (or are pushed into one) solely or largely because of the child’s sex.
Planned Parenthood either doesn’t track or release sex-selective abortion numbers, but polls and abortion rates from other countries indicate that people tend to prefer boys over girls. In countries with high sex-selective abortions, such as China and India, girls are much more likely to be aborted than boys. When Americans were polled about sex-selective abortion and preferences for sexes of their babies, 40 percent preferred boys and 28 percent preferred girls.
This means that it’s likely more girls are aborted than boys, so more than half of that 321,382 figure likely comprises girl abortions. Thus, Planned Parenthood likely aborts more than 150,000 girls a year. Given all the above, Vitter’s comments are obviously more than fair as an estimate.
Blumenthal asked Vitter if she stands by what she said about abortion at that rally. Vitter’s response: “I am pro-life. I will set aside my religious or my personal views. My personal views in this role, I need to make a conscious effort and will do so to set this aside.” Blumenthal attempted to make her distill her beliefs on this complex issue down to a single-word response. She instead told him: “Senator, I feel, again, my pro-life stance has been very clear. I have been very upfront with this committee about my views and about how serious I take it, and that I would set aside any personal or religious views if I were to be confirmed.”
It’s clear that Vitter believes she can fairly perform the duties of the position she has been nominated for, despite her religious beliefs about abortion and the sanctity of life. Notice that judges who hold extreme pro-abortion and other political and moral positions are not singled out like this. Only people who hold one side’s views on abortion are targeted for their beliefs, when for a good judge, those should be irrelevant to her job. Judges are appointed to uphold the law as written, not to rewrite it according to their private desires. If they did the latter, the law would be anarchy, since different judges have different personal views.
The objections about Vitter aren’t on whether she is qualified, or would be a good judge. Vitter has been the counsel for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, and previously served as a former assistant district attorney. She was able to serve successfully as a prosecutor and keep her personal opinions separate from her public duties there, and there’s no indication that she would struggle to do the same as a judge.
This issue with Vitter’s confirmation comes at a time when people on the Left are increasing pressure against conservative people when they are hired if they’ve spoken against abortion or any non-hardline leftist views. Eventually this leads to restricting what jobs and even careers pro-life people are allowed to have. The price on being publicly pro-life is high, and it’s climbing higher for those interested in public service and media positions.
Yet if Vitter is qualified and able to serve, should being pro-life disqualify her? Blumenthal obviously thinks so. That should concern everyone who cares about justice, freedom of thought, and fair play.