WASHINGTON, D.C., July 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As America awaits the confirmation hearings on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh will join the U.S. Supreme Court, pro-abortion activists continue to work to build opposition to President Donald Trump’s latest nominee.
On July 9, Trump announced his selection of Kavanaugh, a District of Columbia circuit judge, to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. National pro-life activists have been generally pleased but not entirely convinced of his credentials, while Democrats and left-wing voices have bitterly denounced him.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which Senate GOP leaders have promised will take place this fall, is expected to be even more contentious than the president’s nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was replacing the late Antonin Scalia, another conservative. Kennedy, by contrast, was a pro-abortion, pro-gay judicial activist whose replacement threatens to shift the balance of the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh’s record shows a generally-originalist bent to his jurisprudence, though pro-lifers and originalists have taken mixed signals from some of his words and rulings. He reached the pro-life outcome in cases concerning the Obama administration’s contraception mandate and a teenage illegal immigrant’s alleged “right” to abortion, but critics say he unnecessarily ceded too much rhetorical ground to pro-abortion legal theories in his written opinions.
On the other hand, Kavanaugh gave a speech in 2017 about the jurisprudence of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, whom he called “my first judicial hero.” The remarks included a discussion of Rehnquist’s dissenting opinion in Roe v. Wade, and seemed to agree that the case was an example of “freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights.”
Many law scholars who favor legal abortion as a matter of policy have admitted that Roe was badly reasoned and wrongly decided. Regardless of both the law and Kavanaugh, however, some pro-lifers such as the Discovery Institute’s Wesley Smith predict that Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005, will ultimately save Roe in some form.
On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared during a press conference, “a vote for Judge Kavanaugh is a vote to destroy Roe v. Wade” and “roll back a generation of progress for women and their families.” Her Senate counterpart Chuck Schumer previously said that nominees generally pledging to respect precedent was “no longer an adequate standard,” and that going forward they have a “solemn obligation to share their personal views” on cases like Roe.
On Monday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, told Glamour Magazine that she thinks Kavanaugh “intends to overturn Roe v. Wade, or limit it […] to make it a states’ rights issue,” a scenario she called “literally the biggest civil rights issue, certainly in my lifetime, for women.”
“[If] you're going to force women to take babies to term even in the circumstances of rape, incest, or medical emergency, you are saying they have no right to the basic civil right of ‘life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness,’” Gillibrand continued. “The fear is [if abortion is not accessible], then they will be left to their own actions. And it’s not safe for women. Their lives will be at risk.”
Gillibrand was invoking a popular pro-abortion myth that abortion was just as common under pre-Roe bans, with the only difference being that women stopped dying in droves because they were getting them in doctor’s offices instead of back alleys.
In fact, former Planned Parenthood and Centers for Disease Control statistician Dr. Christopher Tietze and NARAL co-founder turned pro-life activist Dr. Bernard Nathanson both admitted that pro-abortion activists dramatically exaggerated the number of pre-Roe maternal deaths for political gain.
Former Planned Parenthood director Mary Calderon estimated in 1960 that 90 percent of illegal, pre-Roe abortions actually were committed by licensed physicians. A 2005 analysis by FactCheck.org found that the “best available evidence” showed that maternal abortion deaths began sharply declining before states began legalizing abortion, thanks largely to new drugs.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL, and other pro-abortion women’s groups are joining an army of left-wing groups to organize a “Stand for Justice” rally on August 26, International Women’s Day, to demand that senators block Kavanaugh, Breitbart reports.
“Brett Kavanaugh is a sure fire vote to end the protections of Roe, criminalize abortion, and punish women just as the president promised,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue declared in her abortion organization’s press release for the event.
Also joining the effort will be the American Federation of Teachers, Daily Kos, Demand Justice, Feminist Majority Foundation, MoveOn, National Women’s Law Center, Planned Religious Institute, Stand Up America, the Working Families Party, and more.
So far, their efforts appear to be unsuccessful. A Morning Consult/POLITICO poll released Wednesday finds that 40 percent of voters want to see Kavanaugh confirmed as opposed to 28 percent who do not, though an additional 32 percent remains uncertain.
Pro-abortion Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, whom some Democrats have hoped to pressure to vote “no,” have signaled that they are likely to support Kavanaugh, but pro-life Republican Sen. Rand Paul said this week he’s “undecided” and “worried” about Kavanaugh over unrelated issues.
The GOP’s 50-49 Senate majority can withstand one defection and still confirm Kavanaugh with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie. Two “no” votes from the GOP would force Republicans to sway at least one of three red-state Democrats – Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, or Heidi Heitkamp – who supported Gorsuch and face reelection in November.