Report: Republicans To Confirm Federal Judge Who Opposes Fertility Treatments
Senate Republicans will vote to confirm Sarah Pitlyk, President Donald Trump’s nominee to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, who passionately opposes fertility treatments, according to Huff Post.
Pitlyk argued that fertility treatments and surrogacy have “grave effects on society, including diminished respect for motherhood and the unique mother-child bond; exploitation of women; commodification of gestation and of children themselves; and weakening of appropriate social mores against eugenic abortion,” in a 2017 amicus brief opposing a California statue that protects the right to assisted reproductive technology.
Pitlyk operates as special counsel to the Thomas More Society, a conservative, anti-aboriton law firm based in Chicago, and said in a 2017 interview with the National Catholic Register that “surrogacy is harmful to mothers and children, so it’s a practice society should not be enforcing.”
Yet, nearly 1 in 6 U.S. couples face infertility, according to a 2014 National Institutes of Health study.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) wrote to 99 of her Senate colleagues last month and urged them to oppose Pitlyk’s confirmation over her “deeply insulting” views on fertility treatment.
“As a mother who struggled with infertility for years and required IVF (in vitro fertilization) to start my family, I would be one of the many Americans who could never enter Ms. Pitlyk’s courtroom with any reasonable expectation that my case would be adjudicated in a fair and impartial manner,” Duckworth said.
“I could not trust that Ms. Pitlyk’s opinions were based on facts and circumstances, rather than reflecting her personal beliefs. Not after Ms. Pitlyk cruelly implied in an amicus brief she proudly submitted to the Supreme Court that children conceived with the help of [assisted reproductive technology] are inferior. Not after Ms. Pitlyk accused families who opt for surrogacy of contributing to ‘grave effects on society,’ including disrespecting motherhood,” the senator continued.
Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins raised concerns with Pitlyk earning a rare, embarrassing, and unanimous “not qualified” rating by the American Bar Association based on her lack of experience.
More than 200 national civil and human rights groups have signed a letter opposing Pitlyk, calling her “an ideological extremist who has dedicated much of her legal career to attempting to restrict reproductive freedom and access to women’s health care.”