WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor declined repeatedly at Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday to talk about her views on abortion rights, and said President Barack Obama never asked her about the issue before he chose her for the bench.
"I can't answer ... because I can't look at it in the abstract," she told Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., as he sought to draw her out with questions about hypothetical cases.
Even if she knew more about the specifics of a case, she added, "I probably couldn't opine because I'm sure that situation might well arise before the court."
The Oklahoma Republican had posed a case in which a woman wanted to abort a 38-week fetus because it was found to have spina bifida, which can cause paralysis and is often associated with brain damage.
Coburn also asked whether technological improvements that help premature babies survive might "have any bearing on how we look at Roe v. Wade," the 1973 court ruling that first established abortion rights.
"I can't answer that in the abstract," Sotomayor said. "The question as it would it come before me wouldn't be in the way that you form it as a citizen, it would come to me as a judge."
Earlier, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked about a published report that administration officials had sought to elicit her views on abortion.
"I was asked no question by anyone including the president about my views on any specific legal issue," she said.