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The Senate just confirmed a pro-life judge, and abortion advocates are steamed

Conservative Review

Abortion advocates are up in arms over the Senate's confirmation of Sarah Pitlyk as a district judge for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Pitlyk was confirmed Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 49-44, with 7 members not voting. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was the lone Republican to vote against the confirmation.

So what was so controversial about this nominee? She's got a professional history of pro-life litigation, for starters.

In her previous job at the Thomas More Society, Pitlyk defended pro-life advocate and citizen journalist David Daleiden, whose undercover Planned Parenthood videos in 2015 sparked a congressional investigation. She defended Iowa's six-week abortion ban. In her previous work, she also argued that human lives created during in vitro fertilization should be treated like human lives and noted ethical problems created by surrogacy.

Pitlyk also faced pushback because the American Bar Association — much as it did with recently confirmed judge Lawrence VanDyke — rated Pitlyk as "not qualified" for the federal bench.

As far as her actual qualifications go, Pitlyk is a graduate of Boston College and got her law degree from Yale; she also has two master's degrees. In 2010-2011, Pitlyk clerked for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was on the D.C. Circuit. Before joining the Thomas More Society as special counsel, she worked at a Missouri law firm handling religious liberty and pro-life cases.

Here's what abortion proponents had to say about the confirmation.

“Sarah Pitlyk’s confirmation to the district court in Missouri is a dream come true for the anti-choice movement and a profound danger to women and families in the state," NARAL president Ilyse Hogue stated. "Putting judges like Pitlyk on the bench who will spend their lifetime appointments working to roll back reproductive freedom is further proof that Donald Trump is paying back his debts and then some to the anti-choice movement that got him elected.”

“Missourians already have to navigate an impossible landscape just to access abortion," read a statement from acting Planned Parenthood president and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson. "Sarah Pitlyk’s confirmation to the U.S. District Court puts their health and rights in even greater jeopardy."

Marge Baker, People for the American Way executive vice president for policy and program said that Pitlyk's "career has been devoted to curtailing reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care."

But not everyone is angry with the confirmation.

“We congratulate Sarah Pitlyk on her well-deserved confirmation and are confident she will serve with distinction on the federal bench,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said Wednesday. “With her world-class education, extensive legal expertise, and commitment to fairness and integrity, we are pleased to see Ms. Pitlyk prevail over partisan obstruction."

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, R, said that the newly confirmed judge's "strong legal experience, sharp intellect, and commitment to the rule of law make her an outstanding choice for the Eastern District." Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, R, called Pitlyk "an experienced attorney who understands the Constitution should be read and applied as our founders intended."

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