Alito said women seeking abortions should have to listen to distressing details about fetal development as 'part of the responsibility of moral choice'

samuel alito
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel AlitoChip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Justice Samuel Alito argued in favor of abortion regulations that would help eventually overturn Roe.

  • Alito said it was part of a "moral choice" that women hear about fetal development prior to an abortion.

  • Alito was one of five justices that voted to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday.

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative justice on the Supreme Court, once wrote the distress patients experienced after hearing details of fetal development prior to obtaining an abortion are "part of the responsibility of moral choice."

After the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to overturn Roe v. Wade, attention has been directed to the conservative justices who voted to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.

Alito, one of the justices who voted to overturn Roe, strategized throughout his career to make sure that the ruling would eventually be possible, The New York Times reported.

In a 1985 memo on two abortion restrictions cases, Alito responded to a circuit judge's argument from Planned Parenthood League of Mass. v. Bellotti that said laws requiring patients to be informed about fetal development prior to obtaining an abortion would result in "emotional distress, anxiety, guilt, and in some cases increased physical pain."

Alito, at the time a lawyer in the Department of Justice under former President Ronald Reagan, said such processes were "medically relevant" and necessary prior to obtaining an abortion.

"Does this mean that women have a right to make an uninformed choice — even though that choice involves something more than their own wellbeing?" Alito wrote.

In the same 1985 memo, Alito said that regulations on abortion should be upheld by courts in order to "advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade."

In Friday's ruling, Alito wrote that Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start" and said that the Constitution could not protect the right to abortion.

"Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences," Alito wrote. "And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division."

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