Judge Gorsuch: Send Us Back to a Bygone Era on Women’s Health and LGBTQ Rights

Gorsuch ruled in favor of the idea that corporations are people and against women’s access to contraception. He also sided with politicians trying to deny women and men access to basic health care like cancer screenings and STD tests at Planned Parenthood health centers. Gorsuch has also been highly critical of LGBTQ advocates and others who turn to the courts to protect their constitutional rights.

High Criticism for LGBTQ Advocates

Judge Gorsuch has harshly condemned those who have turned to the courts to advance LGBTQ equality. Noting in a piece in the National Review titled “Liberals n’ Lawsuits” that liberals have an “addiction to the courtroom.”  Remember, it was only through the court case Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage was finally recognized as a constitutional right for all Americans.

Corporations Are People Who Can Deny Women Access to Contraception 

In one of the most pivotal reproductive rights decisions that came before the Supreme Court in recent years, Neil Gorsuch sided with the owners of Hobby Lobby in Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius. He joined the majority to argue that corporations are people exercising religious rights. This ruling, later narrowly upheld by the Supreme Court, allowed private corporations to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance cover contraception at no additional cost. Not only has this set a troubling precedent for women around the country, his decision in Hobby Lobby also raises concerns about protections for the LGBTQ community. As noted in the Advocate, “this raises the question of whether Gorsuch might side with business owners who believe their religious liberty is violated by having to serve same-sex couples or other LGBT customers.”

The ​Hobby Lobby decision has also been used to justify noncompliance with child labor laws in Perez v. Paragon Contractors.

Ruled Against Planned Parenthood Funding

In Planned Parenthood v. Gary Herbert, Neil Gorsuch dissented against a decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Utah Governor Gary Herbert could not block federal funds for Planned Parenthood after heavily doctored viral videos were released by anti-abortion extremists calling themselves the “Center for Medical Progress.”  People for the American Way describes Gorsuch’s troubling approach to executive power in this case:

A panel of three judges on the 10th Circuit (not including Gorsuch) granted an injunction against the Governor of Utah for defunding Planned Parenthood. The full 10th Circuit decided not to rehear the decision, but Judge Gorsuch strongly dissented and argued for deferring to the Governor. An important issue in the case was the Governor’s intent in cutting off funding. On that issue in particular, Gorsuch argued for deferring to the Governor, stating that such deference was appropriate in light of the “comity” that should be shown to states and their elected officials.

Questioned Women’s Fundamental Reproductive Rights 

In his book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Neil Gorsuch questions the fundamental holdings of Roe v. Wade by noting, “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

In the same book, he also suggests that the logical extension of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the landmark 1992 Supreme Court case that reaffirmed the fundamental holding in Roe v. Wade, was not found in the Constitution – rather it was just a hallmark of previous legal rulings.

He also questions a woman’s personal right to choose to have an abortion noting that an individual’s personal autonomy “may prove too much.”

Ruled To Suspend LGBTQ Marriage Benefits

After the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a U.S. District Judge  ruled that Utah’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. However, just a short time later, Neil Gorsuch ruled to temporarily suspend the expansion of spousal benefits to same-sex couples who wed in Utah during the time when same-sex unions were legal.

Voted Against Transgender Protections 

Gorsuch sided against a transgender woman who claimed she was discriminated against after her employer would not let her use the woman’s bathroom without showing that she had completed her gender reassignment surgery.