Alberto Gonzales on Abortion

Attorney General

Perceived as supporting abortion because of judicial rulings

Speculation over a possible Supreme Court nomination caused conservative stalwarts such as National Review magazine and Focus on the Family, among other socially conservative groups, to state they would oppose a Gonzales nomination. Much of their opposition to Gonzales was based on his perceived support of abortion rights; typically, they cited his place in the majority opinions of various Texas Supreme Court rulings in a series of In re Jane Doe cases from 2000 that ordered lower courts to reconsider minor women’s requests for a “judicial bypass” provided in a provision of Texas’ parental notification law, and in one case (43 Tex. Sup. J. 910), granted the bypass that allowed the girl to obtain an abortion without notifying her parents.

Source: Wikipedia, Alberto Gonzales article , Jul 31, 2007

Ok’ed teenage girls’ abortion without parental notification

Reflecting on his challenges as a Texas Supreme Court judge, Gonzales observes, “In Texas, judges are elected, and there are consequences to the decisions you make, particularly when you have to stand for election in a partisan race. I hope those circumstances didn’t affect any of my decisions. I don’t think that they did. But it requires, I think, special discipline and special courage in making decisions about what you think is best and in applying the law.”

His court incumbency elicited the ire of abortion opponents when Gonzales joined a majority ruling that allowed teenage girls to obtain a legal abortion without parental notification. In reversing a lower court decision, Gonzales wrote, Legislative intent is the polestar of statutory construction. Our role as judges requires that we put aside our own personal views of what we might like to see enacted and, instead, do our best to discern what the legislature actually intended.

Source: Interview with Mitch Kaplan, Rice University , Jul 2, 2005

Apply law when personally opposed, like parental permission

Conservative Republicans have found some of Gonzales’ relatively moderate votes on the Texas Supreme Court troubling, including a majority vote not requiring some teenage girls to get parental permission for an abortion. In his opinion on the ruling, Gonzales wrote, “While the ramifications of such a law may be personally troubling to me as a parent, it is my obligation as a judge to impartially apply the laws of this state without imposing my moral view on the decisions of the legislature.”
Source: CNN.com , Nov 10, 2004

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Abortion.
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a href='../Cabinet/Tom_Daschle_Abortion.htm'>HHS:Tom Daschle
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Page last updated: Dec 14, 2011