Sarah Pitlyk, Trump’s latest pick for a lifetime seat on one of the district courts of Missouri, is a stark reminder that our courts have been radicalized with extreme nominees who have no business being on our courts. Pitlyk has made a career out of undermining reproductive health care, from abortion to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to birth control. Here’s just a sampling of some of the cases she has taken on and arguments she has made over the past few years:
- She defended Iowa’s blatantly unconstitutional law that banned abortion before most people would even know they are pregnant. A state court struck down the ban and the Governor did not appeal the ruling.
- She is defending David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist who faces criminal charges for secretly recording videos and then distorting those videos to create a smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. A court just rejected Daleiden’s attempt to hide key evidence of his criminal activity.
- She believes that surrogacy is “harmful” and that “it’s a practice society should not be enforcing.” In an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, she argued that “pregnant women who conceive spontaneously” have better outcomes. Her advocacy made sweeping generalizations about which families are deserving of parenthood, implying that children conceived by IVF are inferior and that children suffer developmentally if they are separated from their gestational parent.
- She used a divorce proceeding to attack the legal basis for Roe v. Wade. She tried to secure legal rights for frozen fertilized eggs, a common strategy used by extremists who want to completely ban abortion, without exceptions, which could criminalize anyone who seeks or performs pregnancy-related care. Thankfully, the court rejected her arguments.
- She represented several employers, including a for-profit employer, challenging a St. Louis non-discrimination law that protects individuals from being fired or pushed out of housing based on their reproductive decisions, such as using birth control or in vitro fertilization. While a federal court blocked enforcement of the non-discrimination law against the organizations she represented, it rejected her arguments to invalidate the law altogether.
Sarah Pitlyk’s record is so anti-abortion, that it would be near impossible to trust her to respect the constitutional right to abortion.
Maya Angelou said it best: “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
And here’s another “fun” fact: She is also a former clerk of Justice Kavanaugh (when he was on the DC Circuit) and participated in the media roadshow to support his Supreme Court nomination. On this tour, she dismissed the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh before even listening to Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony. She called the allegation a “direct character assassination,” saying that “it is very hard to find this allegation credible, especially when it has come to light in such a transparently politically-motivated manner.” Her reward for this partisan advocacy? A lifetime position on a court where she can set back the fight for gender justice.