Justice Barrett and the Burden of Parenthood

Political News

Judge Amy Coney Barrett reacts during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 14, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

As I noted yesterday afternoon, the oral arguments in Dobbs at the Supreme Court yesterday morning featured an exchange between U.S. solicitor general Elizabeth Prelogar and Justice Amy Coney Barrett about the burden of parenthood as it relates to abortion.

Prelogar, who argued on behalf of the U.S. against Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, told Barrett that “safe haven” laws — which shield mothers from prosecution if they surrender an unwanted child to a safe haven — are insufficient to guarantee women’s bodily integrity and autonomy. Being able to terminate parental rights, in other words, does not sufficiently diminish the burden of parenthood.

It struck me as especially ironic that Prelogar would suggest to Barrett, a mother of seven who sits on the highest court in the country, that the burden of parenthood is an insurmountable obstacle to women’s success.

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