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Resignation of US judge puts reproductive rights at risk

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 14 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:130
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

    Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her resignation but will stay until a replacement is found. It will be a disputatious summer in Washington, DC, as President George Bush searches for a nomination to fill the Supreme Court seat that she vacates.

    The choice of Justice O'Connor's successor is seen as crucial to both the conservative right and to liberals and women's groups because it will affect the future composition of the court. Justice O'Connor is a centrist, who has voted with both liberal and conservative members of the nine member court in “swing vote” five to four decisions. She has been the deciding vote in decisions in favour of abortion rights, civil rights, environmental issues, affirmative action, voting rights, and the government's neutrality toward religion.

    Abortion was legalised by the …

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