Tired: Banning Abortion. Wired: Banning The Pill. And Brett Kavanaugh Is ON IT!
Brett Kavanaugh, if confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, is going to overturn Roe v. Wade. It will happen, and he wouldn't have been approved as a nominee in the first place were there any question of this, whatsoever. If he is appointed, we will lose the right to abortion in many states. And birth control? Fills your uterus with tiny zombie fetuses, is pretty much what he said about that.
While being questioned by Ted Cruz, Kavanaugh referred to birth control as "abortion inducing drugs" -- which is not so much a thing a person who supports the right to either of those things would ever say. He did this when explaining, with great ease, why he supports the idea put forward in Zubik v. Burwell and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that religious organizations that are not churches should not only be allowed to refuse to provide their employees with insurance that covers birth control, but refuse to sign a form saying they refuse to provide their employees with birth control so that the employees can then have their birth control subsidized by the government instead. Signing a form would be a "substantial burden" to their religious beliefs.
They're not going after Roe. Well, I mean, they are. But then they're going after Griswold.
It was a rare misstep, if Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski bothered to listen; before saying the Pill causes abortions, Kavanaugh had steadfastly avoided saying anything specific, outside of defending his decision to refuse an undocumented immigrant teenager an abortion until she was no longer in a federal detention camp, claiming that it somehow would have violated the law were she allowed to have one. He's said Roe is "settled" and that it's "the law of the land," but in an email from March 2003 leaked to the New York Times on Wednesday, he appears to not be so sure that it is "the law of the land," or that the court could not overturn the precedent.
Judge Kavanaugh was considering a draft opinion piece that supporters of one of Mr. Bush's conservative appeals court nominees hoped they could persuade anti-abortion women to submit under their names. It stated that "it is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land."
Judge Kavanaugh proposed deleting that line, writing: "I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so."
He wasn't wrong. In fact, he was absolutely right -- and that's what is so scary about nominating him to the Supreme Court. Roe is absolutely not safe and it could be overturned. By him. Whether or not he was referring to himself there isn't clear, but given that he was nominated to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump and the Federalist Society, it's highly unlikely that he is not.
Yet Kavanaugh, clearly, is attempting to avoid saying anything specific about whether or not he believes Roe was decided correctly, because he knows that if he makes his actual feelings on the matter clear, he is not getting on the Supreme Court. He is hoping to be able to fool pro-choice Republicans like Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins into thinking there is enough of a smidge of a chance that he won't overturn it to make them feel comfortable confirming him. He knows that if he were to come right out and say "It is a bad decision and should be overturned," he's not getting on that damn court.
However, it doesn't seem like too many other people are buying his act!
On Tuesday, in a surprising bout of speaking up for literally anything that is important to anyone, Sen. Dianne Feinstein gave Kavanaugh a speech on the horrors of the days before abortion was legal, speaking to her experience as a member of the parole board that determined whether women would stay in jail after they'd procured them.
On Wednesday evening, Senator Kamala Harris asked Kavanaugh whether he knew of any instances in which the government controlled a man's body in the way the government would control women's bodies in the event that Roe were illegal.
Admittedly, my first reaction to these questions was "OK, those are great arguments for not overturning Roe, but the point here isn't making him not want to overturn Roe, but rather finding out whether or not he would." But! Kavanaugh's reaction to the questions, his inability to answer Sen. Harris's question, his sighing "We already know you all you ladies love your abortions" demeanor, his inability to express empathy for those whose lives overturning Roe would destroy, his insistence on sticking exclusively to the "it's precedent" and "it's settled law" line, when we already know that he doesn't believe that? That's incredibly revealing to anyone familiar with the art of the bullshit.
You know who else knows what Kavanaugh will do? Anti-choice activist Cheryl Sullenger, of Operation Rescue, who could not be more delighted with the idea of seeing him seated on the Supreme Court.
Sullenger once tried to bomb an abortion clinic and went to jail for doing so, so she definitely has room to criticize how people protest. She -- a person who once tried to bomb an abortion clinic -- is ecstatic with the idea of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, because she, too, knows that he will absolutely overturn Roe if seated.
The fact that he's refusing to be clear on what he clearly believes -- and what will happen to our right to choose should he be put on the bench -- should give pause to anyone considering confirming him. It's only fair that the American people know what they are getting, and that the Senate knows exactly who and what they are voting for.
And we do, and they do -- the only question is, how many of them are going to pretend they don't (*cough* Murkowski and Collins).
[New York Times]
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse