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Because of their profound impact on Americans’ fundamental rights, reproductive rights cases are among those watched most closely when they reach the United States Supreme Court. This term, the Court is scheduled to decide at least three such cases.
McCullen v. Coakley deals with the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law establishing a 35-foot “buffer zone” around entrances to clinics that perform abortions, in order to protect women and families from harassment when accessing reproductive and family planning services. Opponents argue that the law violates the First Amendment. Oral argument in McCullen is set for January 15, 2014.
The Court also is expected to decide two cases—Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius—concerning whether profit-making companies owned by individuals with religious objections to birth control must be exempted from the contraception coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act.
In this report, we provide the views of the current justices on reproductive rights issues, as expressed through their public statements before and during their confirmation hearings, their legal writing and their decisions. The voting records of the justices on the most significant reproductive rights cases are provided in the chart on page 7. Below and in the full report, their statements are set forth, beginning with the chief justice and then in order of seniority.