Our Lives, Bodies and Freedoms are on the Line
KAVANAUGH UPDATE - 8/28:
In the next few weeks, the US Senate is set to hold hearings and then vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for SCOTUS. Trump’s nominee, Kavanaugh, poses a direct threat to our freedoms. Healthcare, racial justice, immigrant rights, voting rights, and LGBTQIA+ rights are on the line. We must do all we can to stop his confirmation. For those of you who missed our call last week, Women's March and allies will be convening in Washington D.C. to engage in a sustained action of civil disobedience - Cancel Kavanaugh - around the upcoming Kavanaugh hearings.
Here’s how you can get involved:
- Find out more about the action here Sign up to be part of the Cancel Kavanaugh direct action here.
- Donate to support travel expenses and bail money for those who are risking arrest during the hearings here
- Join the Cancel Kavanaugh letter writing campaign to urge your Senators to stop Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Now read on to understand the severity and dangers of a confirmed Kavanaugh in our piece 'Our Lives, Bodies and Freedoms are on the Line'.
Written by; Amanda C - Women's March Minnesota
Justice Kennedy’s retirement and the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court has everyone considering the possibility that Roe v. Wade, the 1974 landmark decision recognizing a woman’s constitutional right to privacy when deciding whether to have an abortion whether to have an abortion, may be overturned or severely limited.
Senators who hold key votes have made statements which seem to indicate they will likely confirm him based simply upon his educational background and professional resume. Joe Manchin (W. Va), a Democrat, stated that Judge Kavanaugh “has all the right qualities” to be a SCOTUS justice. Susan Collins (ME) has also made statements praising his “impressive credentials” and recognizing that he is “clearly qualified.” These statements demonstrate they don’t understand the repercussions of this vote. What exactly is at stake?
Reproductive Rights/Access to Basic Health Care
The right to privacy, upon which Roe rests, was recognized before Roe in a case involving access to contraception. In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut SCOTUS invalidated a state law prohibiting access to birth control on the basis that it interfered with private decisions between married couples. Conservatives object to these decisions because they claim the “right to privacy” is invented because it is not explicitly stated in the Constitution. If a conservative majority on SCOTUS determines Roe should be overturned because the right to privacy is not specifically stated in the Constitution, access to birth control (which also rests upon the right to privacy) would also be at risk.
What is the outcome of Roe being overturned? A number of states also have “trigger” laws which would automatically invalidate abortion laws should Roe be overturned, which means the right to access to abortion on the state level would immediately disappear for millions of women.
Anti-choice groups would undoubtedly push to pass “personhood” bills all over the country. A “personhood” law defines human life to begin at fertilization. Conservatives in Congress have been trying for years to get these bills through – in January 2017 they again attempted to pass this type of act, similar to the Sanctity of Human Life Act (2013) and Life At Conception Act (2013).
These “personhood” laws also ban birth control pills, IUDs, and emergency contraception because the theory is that if life begins at fertilization a woman cannot interfere with implantation. Also, these laws prohibit women’s medical choices, including certain cancer treatments and in vitro fertilization – in essence— removing any choice women have over their bodies. While these laws seem extreme to the average person, the conservative wing of the Republic party and anti-choice groups already have them drafted and routinely bring them up for vote. There should be no question that they will want to make this a reality if Roe is overturned, eliminating any control women have over their bodies and right to self-determination.
In 2017 and 2018, anti-choice groups have also drafted and introduced in states all over the country, laws that would require:
- Fetal tissue to be buried or cremated
- Restrictions on minors seeking abortions
- Requiring counseling before an abortion
- Woman forced to listen to heartbeat prior to obtaining an abortion
- Women must be offered an ultrasound before the abortion
- Waiting periods
- Banning the use of instructions being given over the phone or through Skype for an abortion
Judge Kavanaugh should be asked about his opinion on these issues, and made to answer whether he believes these laws are constitutional, reasonable, and good for the future of this country.
Judge Kavanaugh should also be asked whether these types of regulatory laws would be acceptable if applied to the 2nd Amendment's guarantee of the right to bear arms. Imagine, if those seeking guns and assault rifles were asked to:
- View pictures of mass shootings prior to purchasing the gun
- Prohibited from purchasing guns for minors and punished with criminal charges if a minor gains access to a gun
- Undergo counseling prior to purchase of an assault rifle
- Pay for the funerals of anyone shot illegally with the firearm they purchase
In a 2017 speech, Judge Kavanaugh praised Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who dissented in Roe, as his “first judicial creation hero” and referenced how Judge Rehnquist later helped stop the “tide of freewheeling juridical creation of unenumerated rights” – this means Judge Kavanaugh does not truly believe the right to privacy, and a woman’s right to an abortion are constitutional rights.
If anyone questions whether Roe and all the fundamental liberties we currently enjoy are in jeopardy—they are not paying attention.
For this reason, and because 67% of the American public would disagree with any decision overturning Roe, we urge you to contact your representatives and request that the vote be delayed until after the mid-term elections, and insist your Senator vote “No” on Judge Kavanaugh.