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In Memoriam: Honoring Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg

On September 18, 2020, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, passed away due to complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. Justice Ginsburg was a fierce advocate and champion of women’s rights, and worked tirelessly throughout her career to promote, protect, and preserve equality under the law. The United States feels her loss keenly, but her memory will live on in the work she did and the foundations she helped build.  

Only the second woman justice nominated to the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg was known for her strong stance on gender equality and women's rights. She expressed her opinions eloquently and effectively and won many cases before the Supreme Court. During her career as a judge she wrote several key majority opinions promoting equality under the law. 

Justice Ginsburg is also known for her inspiring personal life. She went to law school after she had a child and credits her daughter as the inspiration that kept her focused. She struck a balance between home life and career life in a time when that was an unusual path to take. She was not afraid to share her opinions or express her dissent. Throughout her tenure, she was a powerful force who became a symbol of justice and strength in popular culture. 

To provide further information on the impact that Justice Ginsburg had on the legal rights of women and women’s health, I’ve asked ACOG Chief Legal Officer Skye Perryman, JD, to write for the blog. She provides her reflections below: 

Justice Ginsburg understood that for women to be equal under the law, unfettered and equal access to health care was critical. In her confirmation hearings in 1993, she explained plainly to a divided Senate that restrictions on health care that single out women are a threat to equality—a presentation that won her confirmation by a landslide vote of 96–3. When on the court, she wrote opinions concerning the provision of women’s health care. She read and relied on ACOG’s briefs and clinical guidance in her opinions, including in striking down medically unnecessary restrictions on physicians providing reproductive health care or in her opinions opposing efforts to undermine contraceptive access. Her commitment to ensuring that women are able to obtain comprehensive access to care and that physicians are able to provide care was unwavering.  

Through the work of our membership and our staff on individual, community, state, and federal levels, ACOG and our members will continue to uphold and honor the spirit of her work.