Women cannot afford yet another anti-choice judge on the bench

Women cannot afford yet another anti-choice judge on the bench
© Getty

Since Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE entered the Oval Office, reproductive freedom is under attack in ways it has never been before. Last month, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosOvernight Regulation: Senate tax bill to include ObamaCare mandate repeal | Sessions sidesteps questions on WH influence on AT&T merger | Dems seek more transparency on student borrower rule Dems call on DeVos to make rewrite of student protection rule public Today’s education system is perfectly designed for no one MORE announced a plan to roll back protections for survivors of sexual assault.

Any day now, we could see a Trump administration rule that allows employers to deny their employees coverage for birth control. And let’s not forget that at the helm of our nation is a man who brags about sexually assaulting women and grabbing us by the genitals.

When it comes to attacks on women from this Administration, the list goes on — and it will continue to grow.

ADVERTISEMENT
But there’s one area where reproductive rights are under attack that has flown largely under the radar: the courts. On Sept. 6, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee began the confirmation process for Amy Coney-Barrett for a lifetime appointment to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. If confirmed, Barrett will be charged with upholding the most basic rights and freedoms afforded to all Americans.

 

Here’s the problem: Barrett is severely anti-choice. Her record demonstrates her lack of support for a woman’s right to choose — something that’s incredibly alarming given the authority she will have, if confirmed to the bench. The last thing we need is one more federal judge who makes hollow promises under the nomination spotlight, but whose extensive anti-choice record yields only one logical conclusion: that she will not hesitate to impose Trump’s anti-choice agenda.

Our nation’s courts are a key battleground in our fight for reproductive freedom. It’s clear Donald Trump knows this too, given his quest to stack the courts with judges who will undermine reproductive freedom for decades to come.

Women across the country already face incredible barriers to our constitutional right to access abortion care — care that’s critical for us in making our own decisions about if, when, and with whom to start or grow our families. If Barrett is confirmed, these barriers will only become greater. Donald Trump, and the Republicans who view him as a means to an end to gain power through the courts, will be even more empowered to block our fundamental rights for possibly generations to come.

Any nominee for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge must believe in and uphold the fundamental constitutional rights — including reproductive freedom — of all citizens. Amy Coney Barrett does not.

Barrett’s appointment would be especially devastating for women and families across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana — states in which reproductive rights, as well as LGBTQ rights and progressive values are already under attack.

One need look no further for proof of this than to some of the cases that are being heard right now by the Seventh Circuit: cases challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy, an Indiana mandatory ultrasound law, and an Indiana law restricting young women’s access to abortion.

Barrett’s anti-choice record speaks for itself. It is underscored by a blatant lack of regard for reproductive freedom and the idea that the right to reproductive self-determination under the law is inextricably linked with a woman’s status as an equal member of society.

Senators Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFive things to know about the elephant trophies controversy The feds need to be held accountable for role in Russia scandal Lawyer: Kushner is 'the hero' in campaign emails regarding Russia MORE and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinQuestions loom over Franken ethics probe GOP defends Trump judicial nominee with no trial experience Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  MORE were right to question whether Barrett would uphold the federal precedent of Roe v. Wade. Not only does Barrett hold the extreme viewpoint that life begins at conception, but her writings lead us to believe that she thinks Roe was incorrectly decided. This should deeply concern the 7 in 10 Americans who support the landmark Supreme Court decision.

The company one keeps can often speak louder than words. During her recent hearing in the U.S. Senate, Barrett refused to admit it was a mistake to accept a speaking engagement with a radical anti-choice group that believes in the sterilization of trans people and that the constitutional right to abortion is "concocted.” She has enthusiastically aligned herself with extreme anti-choice organizations such as Susan B. Anthony List (the same group that has praised “legitimate rape” Congressman Todd Akin as an “excellent partner”).

The gravity of what is being done in the courts cannot be overstated. While Trump and the anti-choice members of Congress may be floundering when it comes to passing legislation, they are succeeding at doing severe damage to progressive values — especially reproductive freedom—through the court system.

Trump’s judicial nominees thus far have already successfully misrepresented themselves to the public as being impartial. Take Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, who claimed to be impartial during his hearings, but almost immediately showed his true intentions by supporting Trump’s Muslim ban and opposing LGBTQ rights. Another judge, John Bush, a right-wing blogger writing under a nom de plume, and Trump’s appointment to fill a vacancy on the Sixth Circuit, has likened abortion to slavery as the “greatest tragedies in our country.”

Despite Coney-Barrett’s best efforts to escape her undeniably anti-choice record, she has already planted her stake on the issue of opposing reproductive freedom. Her confirmation would exemplify the values of this administration and the Republican members of Congress who are its complicit bystanders.

Senators: women are depending on you to prevent the damage to reproductive freedom that is sure to be done by another Trump judicial nominee.  

Leslie McGorman is the Deputy Policy Director at NARAL Pro-Choice America.