Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Testimony Confirms his Hostile Record and Philosophy Towards Reproductive Rights

(PRESS RELEASE) Statement of Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, on the confirmation hearing of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“The stakes of this confirmation could not be higher. This nomination could be the fifth vote on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade (1973).  Given that President Trump pledged to nominate to the Supreme Court only individuals who would overturn Roe, we carefully scrutinized Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony at his confirmation hearing last week and release this report today.

“Going into the hearing, we had grave concerns that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s opinions, speeches and writings evince a judicial philosophy fundamentally hostile to reproductive rights. His testimony did not dispel those concerns. In fact, it only further intensified them.  

“During his confirmation hearing, Judge Kavanaugh faced extensive questioning about his views on reproductive rights. His testimony was a studied attempt not to reveal whether he agrees or disagrees with the Supreme Court’s 50-plus years of jurisprudence on a woman’s constitutional right to access contraception and abortion services. 

“He repeatedly declined to answer whether he believes that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) were correctly decided. When asked about the Supreme Court’s cases on the constitutional right to contraception, starting with Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), he chose to agree with only the narrow concurring opinion authored by Justice Byron White, who would later dissent in Roe and subsequently called for its overruling.

“Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony yielded scant new information about his views and in no way rebutted the evidence in his record that he does not support the half-century of Supreme Court jurisprudence supporting women’s reproductive rights.

“His record speaks volumes about his hostility to women’s reproductive rights. As an appellate judge, Judge Kavanaugh ignored and misapplied Supreme Court precedent to allow the government to continue blocking an undocumented minor from accessing an abortion. He has voiced support for a narrow, backward-looking approach to the scope of individual liberty rights contrary to the foundations of the right to abortion. In speeches, he has praised then-Justice William Rehnquist’s dissent in Roe and Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Casey, where each justice rejected the constitutional right to abortion. He has given a high degree of deference to religiously-affiliated employers who wish to avoid “complicity” in women’s use of contraception, which they believe to be “abortion-inducing” drugs and devices which is false and not based on science.

“We call on all Senators who care about women’s reproductive health and rights to vote against the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. A lifetime appointment cannot be reversed, and the future of our personal liberty rights is on the line.”