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An Indiana group whose anti-abortion campaign was endorsed in an ad signed by Amy Coney Barrett before she became a Supreme Court justice, keeps a published list of abortion providers and where they work on its website, in what some experts say is an invitation to harass and intimidate doctors and their staff.
In one case, according to court records, a doctor whose name was released by the group, who goes by the name Right to Life Michiana, was tipped off by the FBI about a kidnapping threat that had been made online against her daughter.
The threat prompted the doctor to temporarily stop providing abortion services at the Whole Woman’s Health Care clinic in South Bend, also named on the Michiana Group’s website. The doctor said in the court document that the clinic regularly attracted large gatherings of protesters, who she feared might identify her.
Barrett signed a two-page ad in 2006, while working as a teacher at Notre Dame, which stated that those who signed “oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life, fertilization to natural death”. The second page of the ad titled Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion, ‘barbaric’.
The advertisement, which was published in the South Bend Tribune and signed by hundreds of people, was sponsored by a group called St Joseph County Right to Life, which merged with another anti-abortion group in 2020 and is called now Right to Life Michiana.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule this year on the Roe v. Wade challenges that many court experts say will deny American women the right to obtain legal abortions. In arguments in court, Barrett – who said his personal opinions did not affect his legal judgment – argued that the adoption of shelter laws, which allow parents to abandon their newborns in hospitals or other designated centers without the risk of legal consequences, had in effect given women options other than abortion for those who did not want to become parents.
While she Confirmation hearing 2020, Barrett said she signed the announcement as a private citizen, as she was leaving the church, and did not remember signing it until she becomes public following an article in the Guardian.
“It was consistent with the views of my church,” she said, in response to questions from senators about the statement. She later added, “I consider my personal, moral and religious views distinct from my duty to enforce the law as a judge.”