Brett Kavanaugh is on his way to taking a seat on the highest court in the United States—a lifetime appointment that could, and likely will, tilt the Supreme Court farther right. Although Kavanaugh has never explicitly denounced Roe v. Wade (the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion in the United States), anti-abortion groups have endorsed Kavanaugh as the vote that will overturn Roe. This all comes after President Trump has long promised to appoint justices who would make this happen.
The scary thing for pro-choice advocates and, more generally, women in our country, is that regardless of what Kavanaugh has said on the record or not, his appointment to SCOTUS still poses a threat to over 40 years of women having the constitutional right to make their own health decisions. We can't forget that before Roe v. Wade, women were going to desperate, dangerous measures to still cancel their pregnancies, stripped of the full moral and religious liberty that we have today.
In the hearings, Kavanaugh hasn't been transparent about his personal views on abortion, pregnancy or contraceptives, which is exactly why we should be concerned. While 72 percent of Americans are in favor of women having full autonomy over their own bodies, that isn't any guarantee that Kavanaugh won't go after these issues as a justice. His seat on the Supreme Court could very well revert this country to a place where women are subordinate citizens.
Here are some of the potential impacts:
1. No more access to safe, legal abortionGiphy
First and foremost.
2. ....And potentially some birth control methodsGiphy
Depending on how Kavanaugh defines pregnancy (at fertilization or implantation), a belief that pregnancy starts at fertilization would eliminate various kinds of birth control methods. (FYI, pregnancy starts at implantation—ask any medical expert.)
3. The fall of Planned Parenthood
With Planned Parenthood offering so much more than just safe abortion procedures, such as STD testing, overturning the law could drastically impact a health care provider that so many Americans rely on.
4. Strained doctor-patient relationships
Before abortion was legalized, it wasn't uncommon for a woman with self-induced abortion complications to face interrogation by doctors in the ER. Regardless of a doctor or patient's beliefs, re-criminalizing abortion could put doctors in a controversial place between confidentiality and legality and put patients in a state of fear and distrust. Doctors should be trusted champions of our health care, and they can't fulfill that role if we take away legal access to a common procedure.
5. Increased pregnancy and childbirth-related deathsGiphy
Women choose to abort for many different reasons. Overturning Roe v. Wade wouldn't stop women from seeking abortion options illegally, just as it didn't before abortion was legalized. According to Planned Parenthood, illegal abortions or abortion attempts made up one-sixth of pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths in 1965.
And don't forget—we're talking about a lifetime appointment here. How Kavanaugh handles reproductive law as a justice could drastically alter our sexual and reproductive health as a society, whether you're pro-choice or not.