Barr says court should overturn Roe vs. Wade

November 14, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- Attorney General-designate William P. Barr, making public his view on abortion for the first time, said yesterday that the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion was wrongly decided and should be overturned.

Testifying at the second and final day of his Senate confirmation hearings, Mr. Barr said he believed that the right to privacy was in the Constitution but that it did not extend to abortion as the Supreme Court said it did in the 1973 case.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, seemed startled by Mr. Barr's answer to the question on "a woman's right to choose" asked by Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum, D-Ohio.

Mr. Biden, who noted that he did not agree with Mr. Barr, said that Mr. Barr's response was "the first candid answer" he had heard on the super-sensitive question -- one that judicial nominees traditionally refuse to answer. "It's astounding to me," Mr. Biden said. "You should be complimented."

Mr. Barr said that the question of allowing abortions was "a legitimate issue for state legislators. That's where the decision ought to be."

As the committee wound up its hearings, Mr. Barr did underscore his view that Roe vs. Wade remained "the law of the land" and that it would be "until it's overruled."

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