(LifeSiteNews) – Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who sided with the pro-abortion majorities in key cases such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, died on Friday, December 1. She was 93.
An announcement from the United States Supreme Court said that O’Connor died in Phoenix, Arizona, from complications related to dementia, which is presumed to have been Alzheimer’s, combined with a respiratory illness. She was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, a position she held from 1981 until 2006.
News of O’Connor’s death has sparked salutations on social media from both Democrat and Republican politicians alike. Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson both expressed condolences to O’Connor’s family and gratitude for her service.
O’Connor was appointed by former Republican President Ronald Reagan who, while campaigning to come to the White House in 1980, made a promise to voters that he would work to put a woman on the Supreme Court. Reagan had a track record of speaking in defense of the unborn, even writing a powerful independent manuscript two years into his presidential term which appealed to Americans to defend the rights of their fellow citizens in the womb.
When pro-lifers questioned him about O’Connor’s dedication to the dignity of human life, Reagan told reporters that his nominated justice held a “right-to-life position,” which he backed with testimony of his own interview with her.
Despite Reagan’s confidence, O’Connor sided with the reaffirmation of a supposed Constitutional “right” to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. The decision in this case upheld the previously instituted protections for abortion under the court’s notorious ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
In 2000, O’Connor once again sided with the pro-abortion majority in Stenberg v. Carhart to approve a “right” to partial-birth abortion.
In 2013, O’Connor, who was already retired, presided over a same-sex “wedding” ceremony. It was “the first gay wedding to take place in the court’s halls,” Slate reported at the time, noting that in 1986 O’Connor had joined the court’s majority in upholding the constitutionality of a Georgia law against sodomy. But 10 years later, she sided with the pro-gay majority in Romer v. Evans, which axed a Colorado state constitutional amendment that prohibited laws making homosexuality a protected class.
Justice Samuel Alito, who succeeded O’Connor upon her retirement in 2006, wrote the landmark opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, published in June 2022, which revoked the so-called Constitutional “right” to abortion in the United States and reversed the long-held abortion protections in Roe that O’Connor had supported.
This article was updated on December 5, 2023 to include information about O’Connor’s record on same-sex “marriage.”