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November 29, 2017 / Press Releases

NARAL Statement on Judiciary Committee’s Hearing for Anti-Choice Judicial Nominee Kyle Duncan

November 29, 2017

After the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, NARAL Pro-Choice America Senior Vice President Sasha Bruce issued the following statement:

“Duncan has made a name for himself by rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit and women’s ability to make decisions about their own lives, bodies, and futures. Given his troubling anti-choice record, we can be sure that he’ll use the federal judiciary to continue his attacks on reproductive freedom.  

“Mitch McConnell continues to speed through these nominations as a way to solidify Trump’s backwards agenda for decades to come, but the Senate should halt all lifetime nominees to the judiciary until the Department of Justice’s investigation into Trump’s inner circle is complete.”

Duncan’s long, anti-choice record should concern all Americans. Read more about his alarming record below:

    • Duncan is a strong opponent of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy, the single greatest advancement in reproductive healthcare in a generation. He has represented several major challenges to the policy, and even served as the lead counsel representing Hobby Lobby in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. before the Supreme Court.1 Duncan argued that employers should be free to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees on religious grounds.2
    • Duncan defended a Louisiana Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) law in the courts, an unnecessary and burdensome requirement not applied to other healthcare providers.3 Duncan, however, called the law “medically reasonable.”4
    • Duncan also filed an amicus brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in support of Texas’ TRAP law. While he argued that the law rested on “solid medical ground,” the Supreme Court ruled that the law placed an unconstitutional undue burden on women seeking abortion care.5
    • Duncan appeared alongside Americans United for Life CEO Charmaine Yoest at a 2013 event, where he gave a speech calling the idea of a “right” to contraception “disturbing.”
    • Duncan disparaged the constitutional right to abortion in a law review article, where he wrote that “government must adopt a distinctly more agnostic stance toward religion” than abortion, because “government has a legitimate interest in the protection of fetal life throughout pregnancy.”6
    • While appearing on CNN, Duncan asserted that “access to contraception is widespread and nobody really denies that.”7
    • Several anti-choice groups celebrated Duncan’s nomination, including Students for Life and Susan B. Anthony List. Duncan is also active in the conservative Federalist Society.
1 Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, 573 U.S. (2014).
2 Eternal World Television Network, Inc. v. Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 818 F.3d 1122 (11th Cir. 2016); Wheaton College v. Sebelius, 887 F.Supp.2d. 102 (D.D.C. 2012); Ave Maria University v. Sebelius, 2013 WL 1326638.
3 June Medical Services LLC v. Kliebert, 250 F.Supp.3d 27 (M.D.La. 2017).
4 Janet McConnaughey, Judge throws out part of suit against Louisiana abortion law, ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 12, 2015.
5 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S.Ct. 2292 (2016).
6 Kyle Duncan, Secularism’s Laws: State Blaine Amendments and Religious Persecution, 72 Fordham L. Rev. 493 (Dec. 2003).
7 Carol Costello, George Howell, A.J. Hammer, and Sanjay Gupta, Florida A&M Wants Hazing Suit Dropped; Contraception Mandate Challenged; “The Hobbit” Premiers in New Zealand; Sounds Technology May Diagnose Parkinsons, CNN NEWSROOM, November 28, 2012.
NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”


Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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