Advocates for Civil and Reproductive Rights Decry Confirmation of Sarah Pitlyk to the Eastern District of Missouri

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Sarah Pitlyk was confirmed for a lifetime position as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The expert non-partisan American Bar Association has determined she is not qualified for a lifetime seat on the federal bench.

Pitlyk holds extremist views on reproductive health care and has an extensive record of seeking to undermine reproductive rights and access to critical health care. Pitlyk’s record includes defending Iowa’s unconstitutional six-week abortion ban that blocks abortion before many even know they’re pregnant. She relied on racist and harmful stereotypes about women of color in arguing for abortion bans that restrict abortion access. Pitlyk opposed in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy, and she has fought for the right to discriminate against people for using birth control. Her entire career is built on rolling back the clock on reproductive freedom. 

Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, The National Women’s Law Center

“We are outraged that Senate Republicans voted to confirm someone who is so egregiously unqualified and biased. Sarah Pitlyk has made a career out of undermining basic reproductive care including abortion, birth control, and in-vitro fertilization. She should not be rewarded with a lifetime appointment to the federal court where she could further erode our rights. Sarah Pitlyk is not what this country needs to move forward toward equality and justice.”   

Marge Baker, PFAW Executive Vice President for Policy and Program: 

“Sarah Pitlyk’s record is one of the worst we’ve seen among Trump judicial nominees, and we are deeply concerned about the effect her confirmation will have on rights for millions of people in Missouri.  Her career has been devoted to curtailing reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care. She is woefully unqualified for a judgeship, having never tried a case – as the ABA made clear when it unanimously gave her a ‘Not Qualified’ rating. And yet Senate Republicans gutlessly fell in line and voted to confirm her because they will not cross Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. This is a very sad day for the people of Missouri.”   

Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America President:

“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.  Pitlyk’s views should immediately disqualify her: she is hostile to Roe v. Wade, she opposes surrogacy and IVF– critical tools to help people achieve their dreams of having families, and her statements on civil rights is abhorrent. Missourians are already facing an unprecedented assault on their reproductive freedom, with the state’s only abortion clinic fighting to remain open. 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.”

Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice President:

“Sarah Pitlyk was clearly nominated because she has devoted her entire career to opposing reproductive freedom, including abortion, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy. Senate Republicans concluded that her commitment to stripping away access to reproductive healthcare was the only qualification she needed to be a federal judge, even though she has virtually no courtroom experience. The Trump administration is rigging the federal courts to try to roll back constitutional freedoms Americans hold dear, and the people of Missouri will pay the price.”

Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

“Sarah Pitlyk’s confirmation to a lifetime position on our federal courts is deeply disturbing. Pitlyk has spent her career singularly focused on restricting reproductive rights and women’s access to health care. She is exactly the type of judicial nominee that Trump promised to fill the courts with: an individual who threatens reproductive rights and access to abortion. With Pitlyk’s confirmation, the administration is betting on her to carry out their agenda for decades to come. This nomination epitomizes Trump’s and Senate Republicans’ agenda to roll back our civil rights by stacking the courts with unfit nominees.”

Sheila Katz, National Council of Jewish Women CEO:

“Sarah Pitlyk’s confirmation to a lifetime seat on the federal bench is devastating for women, children, and families across the country who will suffer as a result of her advancement. Pitlyk has dedicated her career to rolling back reproductive freedoms, including birth control, and holds strong positions against in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. Further, she has no experience in a civil or criminal court and is ranked unqualified by the independent American Bar Association. Our rights and freedoms — the schools we can attend; our privacy; our ability to start a family when we choose; the safety of the products we buy; our religious freedom; our voting rights; and more — are dependent on judges who are fair and independent. Unfortunately, particularly for women in this country, this was ignored today.

Despite our disappointment, NCJW advocates will continue to push for fair, independent, and diverse judges who will protect the most vulnerable Americans.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“Missourians already have to navigate an impossible landscape just to access abortion. Gov. Parson’s administration has shown people across Missouri that they cannot trust his administration to handle their sensitive and personal information. Sarah Pitlyk’s confirmation to the U.S. District Court puts their health and rights in even greater jeopardy. She has spent her career openly opposing access to birth control, abortion, and even IVF and surrogacy. Now confirmed, Pitlyk could rule on these issues and more. Given her extreme ideology, she cannot be trusted to protect people’s health and rights in Missouri.

“Don’t be fooled: this is part of the Trump administration’s dangerous agenda to fill judicial seats with unfit people, driven by ideology, who will restrict our reproductive health and rights. This is not what the people of Missouri or the country want, and Planned Parenthood and our partners will continue fighting to protect people’s rights and freedoms — no matter what.”



For Immediate Release: December 4, 2019
LySaundra Campbell ([email protected])