First, Obama has nominated Judge Sotomayor for a seat at the Supreme Court table. Second, Sotomayor describes herself as a liberal. Third, most liberal organizations have come out in support of Sotomayor. Fourth, most conservatives have already denounced Sotomayor's nomination. And fifth, in a 2002 case, Sotomayor ruled in favor of the Bush policy that withheld aid from international groups that provide abortion services. Why would this last example indicate a pro-choice stance rather than a pro-life stance?
Well, it’s largely a matter of semantics, but important nonetheless. In the abortion debate, there are only two sides. Either you are against abortions, or you are for them. The former group likes to call themselves pro-life. The designation is clear; they consider themselves the protectors of innocent human life, and by contrast, it implies that the other side is against protecting defenseless human life. The latter group, however, likes to call themselves pro-choice. They like to think of themselves as the protectors of reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to choose. As one can see, these two groups talk past each other while making wholly different arguments for their positions.
Why is this important? Sonia Sotomayor made this statement in her 2002 decision:
The Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds.
Did you catch it? Sotomayor refused to call those who oppose abortion as “pro-life”, but instead describes them using the negative “anti-abortion.” By doing this, Sotomayor refuses to presuppose that anti-abortion groups are really protecting innocent life as they so earnestly advocate. On the flipside, however, she gives the other group the benefit of the doubt. By calling those who support abortion “pro-choice,” Sotomayor admits that they protect a woman’s right to choose without admitting that a death occurs in the process.
Keep in mind, the 2002 decision was written in a careful and deliberate manner. Sotomayor could have defined both groups in a neutral way, (e.g., pro-abortion and anti-abortion) but elected only one group for an unbiased designation.
Did anyone really think that President Obama would be stupid enough to choose a pro-life Supreme Court nominee? Think again.