Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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OpEd

SATURDAY ESSAY

Women’s rights in jeopardy as Supreme Court fight continues

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    President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, listens to a question during the third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

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    Democratic nominee for Attorney General Steve Dettelbach, center left, discusses human trafficking during a roundtable at Michael's Bar and Grill in Toledo in August.

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PUT ASIDE how you personally perceive U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Put aside whether you think he seems like a good guy or a bad apple, whether he generally makes the right decisions or the wrong ones. And consider what is at stake with one critical landmark Supreme Court decision: Roe vs. Wade.

Senate-Supreme-Court-33

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, listens to a question during the third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

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We urge you to think back to October, 2016, when then-candidate Trump promised to overturn Roe vs. Wade. He promised the decision would be overturned “automatically,” even, since he would be able to nominate Supreme Court Justices committed to the same end.

Now-President Trump kept his promise. When we fast-forward to present day, the unthinkable is happening. It’s happening in the form of Brett Kavanaugh’s pending nomination to the United States Supreme Court - and people in communities across Ohio and across the country are rightfully nervous.

With Judge Kavanaugh’s pending nomination, the healthcare protections of millions of women across the country are under imminent threat. If Judge Kavanaugh is successfully nominated, anti-choice Republicans will be emboldened to criminalize abortion — and further limit other healthcare options for women, including contraception.

Judge Kavanaugh has a long and public record of dismissing the rights of women and girls. Last fall, he actively worked to block a detained migrant teenage girl in Texas from accessing abortion care, wrongly claiming this would effectively set a new precedent for minors to “obtain abortion on demand.”

dettelbach30-8

Democratic nominee for Attorney General Steve Dettelbach, center left, discusses human trafficking during a roundtable at Michael's Bar and Grill in Toledo in August.

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Kavanaugh’s nomination will not just hurt women’s healthcare. It is also part of a broader Trump Administration effort to strip away legal protections for people with pre-existing conditions and older Americans.

The healthcare rights and protections of Ohio’s most vulnerable are already under full-fledged attack from the Trump Administration and Republican majority Congress firing from all angles. Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination risks adding gasoline to the fire.

Ohioans want and need balance. They do not need another institution actively working against them. Our leaders should work to move the state forward and make sure everyone who lives here has an equal opportunity to move ahead — an equal shot at fairness and equality. By hacking away at that idea of equality, we not only see the rights of Ohioans dissipate — we see the future of Ohio threatened.

The pending nomination of Brett Kavanaugh should bring any engaged citizen pause. Kavanaugh’s addition to the bench expedites a process that is already well-under way. It is a massive offensive on the rights of the Ohioans and Americans who need the law’s support the most.

Regardless of your personal impressions of Judge Kavanaugh — whether you think he falls on the right or wrong side of most issues — his nomination threatens to throw the court and our country further out of balance. And with the loss of balance, real Ohioans will suffer.

Jennifer McNally is board of trustees chair of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.

Steve Dettelbach is the Democratic nominee for Ohio’s next Attorney General, and the former United States Attorney of the Northern District of Ohio.

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