Planned Parenthood president 'deeply concerned' about Kavanaugh presence on Supreme Court

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen said she is "deeply concerned" about Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughFor Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty COVID-19: Justice Alito overstepped judicial boundaries Defusing the judicial confirmation process MORE's presence on the Supreme Court and the high court's conservative tilt.

“I’m deeply concerned — I am a scientist and a doctor — I have to look at the evidence and we know the evidence about what Justice Kavanaugh has done before and we are facing a situation — a very real situation — where in the next year, we could have Roe v. Wade be overturned or further eroded,” Wen told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising."

“As a doctor I know what’s at stake, and what’s at stake is women’s lives,” she added. Wen is the first doctor to lead the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in nearly 50 years.

Wen, who was named Planned Parenthood’s next president in September, added that the court's decision on Monday to refuse appeals from two states looking to end funding to Planned Parenthood isn’t necessarily indicative of its future decisions on issues involving women’s health.

The Supreme Court on Monday dealt a blow to Kansas and Louisiana, which sought ban Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from the states' Medicaid programs.

Kavanaugh did not sign on to three of the conservative justices' dissenting opinion. At least four justices must agree to hear an appeal for it to be taken up.

Though the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday is considered by some to be a loss for anti-abortion advocates, Wen said the case's emphasis was focused on basic health care like cancer screenings and birth control, adding that it "had nothing to do with abortion."

“I just want to be crystal clear, the law in Louisiana and Kansas had nothing to do with abortion, it’s about patients receiving care for Well-woman visits, for birth control, for STDs, for HIV tests — for all of these other things and so that is legal, that is the federal law,” she said.

Wen added that the move to end Planned Parenthood's funding in Kansas and Louisiana was particularly harmful to low-income women.

“If you’re poor and you depend on Planned Parenthood for your care, you depend on Medicaid for your care, you can’t even choose to come to the one place where you’re able to access health-care,” she said.

Wen said that such efforts to try to end funding to Planned Parenthood come at a time when maternal mortality is on the rise, increasing the need for access to women's health care.

“Maternal mortality is increasing — we’re the only industrial country where the rate of women dying in childbirth is increasing,” she told Hill.TV.

Though maternal mortality rates have declined in other developed countries, maternal deaths have increased notably in the U.S. since 2000.

An estimated 700 to 900 women die in the U.S. every year from complications related to pregnancy, such as blood loss and high blood pressure. Nearly 60 percent of these deaths are preventable, according to the CDC Foundation.

But one California Republican is looking to change this growing epidemic, and bring lawmakers together on the issue across the aisle. 

Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? House Hispanic Republicans welcome four new members GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler wins reelection MORE (R-Wash.) announced that one of her initiatives to help women from dying from pregnancy-related causes is scheduled for a vote in the House on Tuesday.

Jaime’s bipartisan bill, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, currently has 185 cosponsors.

– Tess Bonn