Amy Coney Barrett's Confirmation Could Have A Major Impact On Arizonans
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Politics and Activism

Amy Coney Barrett's Confirmation Could Have A Major Impact On Arizonans

Barrett's confirmation could threaten both Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act so what will this mean for Arizonans?

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Amy Coney Barrett's Confirmation Could Have A Major Impact On Arizonans
By The White House/Shealah Craighead - https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/50397882607/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94569579

All eyes have turned towards Washington D.C. as Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing, undergoes confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Two topics at the forefront of conversation surrounding Barrett's nomination include Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's health care law.

If confirmed, Barrett's addition would secure a conservative majority alignment on the Supreme Court, thereby putting both the ACA and Roe in jeopardy.

For Arizonans, these decisions could have long-lasting effects on people across the state, ranging from women to those with preexisting health conditions.

The stakes have prompted activists across the nation to call for proceedings to halt until the presidential inauguration on January 21, ensuring that the people have a say in the nominee through this November's presidential election. The Senate's decision to stall President Obama's nominee in 2016 for the same reasons has only added to the divisiveness.

Like the rest of the country, Arizona finds itself divided on whether or not the Senate should vote until after the election.

According to a survey conducted by HighGround Public Affairs, Arizona voters are split with 50% in favor of a Senate confirmation vote in contrast to 47% opposed. The survey results reflect Arizona's partisan divide on this issue.

The divide has been seen in elections across the state, from the Senate race to smaller, local elections including the Maricopa County Attorney election.

Democratic candidate Julie Gunnigle, who attended Notre Dame Law School while Barrett served as a professor there, spoke to Ahwatukee residents on September 28 about her concerns regarding Barrett's confirmation.

For Gunnigle, her primary focus falls on Roe v. Wade, whose overturn she views as an "inevitability".

A case concerning Roe, Food and Drug Administration v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, already sits before the Court, which could put the legality of abortion back into the state's hands.

Arizona's pre-Roe abortion ban could have abortion providers facing a two year minimum in prison and those seeking abortion could face at least one year. Both could face up to five years of imprisonment, however.

Gunnigle feels Roe is under attack because of Barrett's participation in groups and signed statements publicly opposing it.

In Tuesday's Senate hearing, Barrett said she does not consider Roe to be a "super precedent", which she regards as "cases that are so well settled that no political actors and no people seriously push for their overruling".

A survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, however, found that a 73% majority of voters in battleground states, of which Arizona is included, believe that abortion should be legal.

"Most importantly, what it's going to mean is that women will die," Gunnigle said of Roe's possible overturn. "Again and again what we've seen with the criminalization of abortion is that it doesn't end abortions, it ends safe abortions."

Another mandate at risk is the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett's confirmation hearings come a mere month before the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in California v. Texas on November 10. The case, which challenges the ACA's constitutionality, has President Trump and several Republican states clamoring for the mandate to be struck down in its entirety.

Tara Plese, the Chief External Affairs Officer for the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers, detailed how the ACA's overturn could affect millions of people across the state, including those with preexisting conditions.

Plese explained how the federal government helps health care plans cover the costs of high-risk populations, something that could be lost if the ACA goes away.

Although the Arizona Senate passed a bill to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions, Plese said it has a major oversight when it comes to cost controls.

"Going forward if the Affordable Care Act goes away, you could be charged just because you have a preexisting condition," Plese said. "It could be so expensive people would decide not to go for health insurance."

Another concern of Plese's is the threat to the ten essential health benefits insurances must cover, especially in regards to women's health care.

Plese highlighted how the ACA gave women access to yearly well-visits, mammograms and maternity care, which had previously required an additional plan. It also guaranteed contraceptive coverage and prevented insurance companies from denying health care access to women, Plese pointed out.

"It really does give women greater control over their own health care," Plese said.

Plese stressed that an ACA overturn could affect more than just those with preexisting conditions and women, however.

Plese said it could have a major economic impact on the state as well.

"If we lose the Affordable Care Act, Arizona could lose $1.7 billion," Plese said.

This economic loss would result from the lack of federal funds into the state's Medicaid program, known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. Plese said over 1 million people are currently in the state's Medicaid program.

Ultimately, Plese believes the overturn of the ACA would be a major loss for Arizonans.

"It's the best attempt that we've had at making a viable health care system for everybody in well over 50 years," Plese said.

Gunnigle and Plese are not alone in their fears for Roe and the ACA.

In a livestream for Planned Parenthood Action on Sunday, Phoenix resident Alejandra Pablos passionately denounced Barrett's confirmation. As an immigrant citizen of the United States and an abortion storyteller, Pablos views Barrett's confirmation as a threat to her life and the lives of all Arizonans.

"We must demand no confirmation until after inauguration," Pablos said. "We are fighting for a world where we all have full autonomy over our own bodies, our own lives, sexuality and reproduction."

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