The decision whether or not to bear a child is “central to a woman’s life, to her dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that 30 years ago, at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing. She understood that reproductive freedom is foundational to equality, and critical to women’s health and economic security. Without access to high-quality reproductive health care — including contraception and safe, legal abortion — we cannot have true equality.
But President Trump, Senate Republicans, and their extremist allies don’t care. They’ve spent almost four years of the Trump administration — and the many years before — undermining health care and turning back the clock on reproductive rights. That’s why they nominated Amy Coney Barrett to sit on the Supreme Court. She’s the ticket for a desperate, right-wing party that wants to hold onto power a little longer in order to impose its extremist agenda on the entire country.
President Trump and his Republican enablers have tried to deny this obvious fact. The president recently said that he “didn’t know” how Barrett would rule on reproductive rights, and Republicans in the Senate have fallen in line. The Republican Party knows the large majority of Americans don’t support overturning Roe v. Wade. They benefit when we stay on the sidelines — and they want us to sit back and stay quiet while our fundamental freedoms are on the line.
But we see right through their radical play.
President Trump picked Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee to take us back in time. Roe v. Wade established the constitutional right to safe and legal abortion and has been the law of the land for over 47 years. But over, and over, and over again, President Trump has bragged about his plans to appoint judges who would “automatically” overturn Roe. The Affordable Care Act expanded access to reproductive health care — like no-co-pay birth control — for millions. But President Trump has promised to overturn the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, and sent his Department of Justice to ask the Supreme Court to do just that.
Barrett is Trump’s ideal candidate to accomplish his plans. In 2006, she signed a newspaper ad calling for the end of Roe and describing the decision as “barbaric.” She was a member of an anti-choice group while on the University of Notre Dame faculty. She’s also been critical of the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court’s past decision to uphold the law in court. Her position on abortion and other reproductive rights are clear: She believes women cannot be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies.
If Barrett’s nomination makes you scared and angry, you’re right to be: 17 abortion-related cases are already one step away from the Supreme Court. Twenty-one states have laws that could be used to restrict abortion in the event Roe is overturned. And if Barrett’s confirmation is rammed through quickly, she’ll have the opportunity — on November 10 — to hear a case about overturning the Affordable Care Act, and a lifetime on the nation’s highest court to undermine the rights and values we hold dear.
Access to birth control has changed the economic futures of millions of women, and access to safe abortion care is an economic issue, too. For a young couple with modest wages and piles of student loan debt, the decision to start or expand a family is a powerful economic issue. For a woman working two jobs with two kids in day care, an unplanned pregnancy can upend budgets already stretched too far. For a student still in high school or working toward a college degree, it can derail the most careful plans for financial independence. Indeed, one of the most common reasons that women decide to have an abortion is because they can’t afford to raise a child.
And let’s be explicitly clear: If these attacks succeed, they will have disproportionately negative consequences for women of color, who are already facing some of the most insurmountable barriers to abortion care. Rich women will still have access to abortion and reproductive care, but it will be Black and Brown women, women with low incomes, women who can’t afford to take time off from work, and young women who were raped or molested by a family member who will be the most vulnerable.
But this isn’t a moment to back down. Already, it’s inspiring to see so many women and friends of women coming off the sidelines in this fight — and we must continue to speak up, call your senators, and make sure this conversation is grounded in our real experiences. Men must speak up, too, because reproductive freedom affects us all.
Voting is already underway across the country, and there are only 26 days before the election is completed. And the data shows most Americans want to wait until after the election for a new justice to be confirmed. Justice Ginsburg gave us our marching orders: Do not fill this Supreme Court seat until after the election when the next president is installed. We will fight hard together to honor her wish.