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What a Kavanaugh confirmation would mean for Arizonans

Donald Trump shakes hands with Brett Kavanaugh. Both men are wearing black suits.

We are, by now, all aware of the ersatz reality-TV spectacle that was this week’s SCOTUS pick announcement, and of its result: D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh is headed to the Senate, and will likely be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice.

To be fair, any nominee from the list of front-runners would have been a blow to women’s (and LGBTQ, and worker, and minority) rights. Now that we know Kavanaugh is the final pick, let’s take a look at his record when it comes to reproductive rights, and what that means for women in Arizona.

In 2006, while being questioned during his confirmation hearing for the D.C. Circuit Court, Kavanaugh said that he “would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully,” as it is considered binding precedent. However, binding precedent does not apply as strictly to Supreme Court judges as it does circuit court judges, meaning we cannot expect him to stand by his previous statement.

And it does not appear he will. Last year he weighed in on a case to decide whether or not a minor undocumented immigrant in government custody should be allowed to obtain an abortion. He contributed to a ruling requiring her to find a sponsor, which could have delayed her ability to obtain the procedure past the legal 24-week mark; when the ruling was overturned and she was able to obtain an abortion the next day, he dissented.

Donald Trump himself has stated his intention to choose Supreme Court justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade, thus returning the power to legalize/criminalize abortion back to the states. 10 states currently have abortion bans in their laws that were never removed. Arizona is one of those states, with our ban dating back to 1901.

The law is not designed in a way that it would automatically go into effect if Roe were overturned, and would require state officials to file a motion requesting the ban be reinstated. However, given the extreme anti-choice bent of our current elected officials, it is all but certain that Arizona women would face a very strenuous, uphill battle in ensuring our rights to reproductive care would be upheld in a post-Roe world.

What can you do to protect women’s rights in Arizona?

  1. Who controls our state government is becoming more important than ever. Research the candidates and vote for those who pledge to protect our access to reproductive care.

  2. Get involved. If control over abortion access is turned back to the states, we are in for a fight, and organizations such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood will need support and advocacy.

  3. Donate. Groups throughout Arizona, including the Abortion Fund, are doing important work every day to make sure women of all income levels have access to their legally-guaranteed reproductive care. You can donate to the Abortion Fund of Arizona by clicking here.

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