He made it clear he won’t protect Roe v. Wade and women’s constitutional right to access abortion.
Senators questioned Brett Kavanaugh for four days — and to no one’s surprise, he did everything he could to avoid giving straight answers about his opinions on Roe v. Wade and abortion access.
This was no accident: Kavanaugh’s anti-abortion and anti-women’s health record is clear: his confirmation to the Supreme Court would be a dangerous to women. Here are the toplines of what happened during the hearings.
1. Instead of affirming his support for Roe v. Wade, Kavanaugh repeated over and over that Roe is “settled precedent.”
Overall, Kavanaugh avoided more than a dozen opportunities to say whether he believes there is a constitutional right to abortion. He even refused to say whether he agreed with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's very basic statement that a woman's right to make her own reproductive decisions is connected to her overall equality. The only thing that Kavanaugh would say about Roe is that it’s “settled precedent.”
Just because Roe v. Wade is a legal precedent doesn’t mean it can’t be overturned. Kavanaugh knew what he was doing by parroting this canned response.
2. During the hearings, the Senate leaked emails showing that Kavanaugh actually doesn't think Roe v. Wade is settled law — or safe from being overturned.
In a 2003 email exchange about Roe v. Wade, Kavanaugh wrote that the Supreme Court “can always overrule its precedent.” He proposed deleting a sentence that reaffirmed Roe as “settled law of the land.”
The leaked emails show that Kavanaugh can’t be trusted. Senators should have no doubt that a vote for Kavanaugh is a vote to erode the constitutional right to abortion.
3. Kavanaugh inaccurately referred to birth control as an “abortion-inducing drug.”
As a judge, Kavanaugh ruled to allow employers to block their employees’ access to no-copay birth control. When Senator Ted Cruz asked about this harmful ruling, Kavanaugh responded that — although the plaintiffs objected to providing coverage for any method of birth control — he characterized their objection as opposition to “abortion-inducing drugs.”
Referring to birth control as “abortion-inducing” is flat-out wrong. Birth control can’t cause an abortion. But just like abortion, birth control is basic health care. Birth control allows women to plan their futures, participate equally in the economy, and — for some women with health issues like endometriosis — helps them get through the day. Kavanaugh’s gross misunderstanding of women’s basic health care puts our rights at risk.
4. Kavanaugh defended his ruling to block a young undocumented woman from accessing safe, legal abortion.
In his 2017 ruling in Garza v. Hargan, Kavanaugh sided with the Trump administration and indefinitely blocked a young woman from receiving an abortion — even though state law would have allowed her to get it. (Fortunately, the full appeals court later overturned Kavanaugh’s decision.) When senators questioned Kavanaugh about his ruling, two very disturbing things became clear:
- Kavanaugh doesn’t consider it an “undue burden” to indefinitely block a woman from her constitutional right to abortion, and;
- He actually doesn’t hold high esteem for precedent. (Shocker.)
Undue burden (n) — significant difficulty or expense.
If indefinitely blocking a woman’s ability to access abortion isn’t “undue burden,” then we don’t know what is.
None of this is business as usual.
At her 1993 Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Ruth Bader Ginsburg showed us what it looks like to uphold women’s constitutional rights. She gave clear answers about Roe v. Wade, openly declaring that it’s a woman’s “right to decide whether or not to bear a child.” Sen. Kamala Harris went so far as to give Kavanaugh a word-for-word reading of Ginsburg’s declaration. Even then, Kavanaugh still refused to say whether he agreed with Ginsburg.
What’s also not normal is the scale of protests against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Headline after headline has called attention to the unprecedented “chaos” prompted by Kavanaugh’s nomination. To date, almost 1.5 million people have signed petitions calling on senators to reject Kavanaugh. More than 100,000 calls have been made to the U.S. Senate. We know our rights are on the line, and we’re not staying quiet.
So, what’s next?
The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation this Thursday, September 13. Next up will be a vote on the Senate floor.
There’s still time to get our senators to reject Kavanaugh. We need you to get loud and fight for our rights.
We have 6 easy ways to urge your senators to stop Kavanaugh
Some options — like sending a tweet — only take a few seconds. With everything at stake, any action you can take counts.