The next Supreme Court nominee will determine the future of abortion access in this country. Let me be clear: the right to access safe and legal abortion is on the line. Without access to safe and legal abortion, women’s health and lives will be at risk. And Judge Brett Kavanaugh poses a serious threat to reproductive health and rights.
Overturning Roe will not end abortions. It will end safe abortions. Women will die seeking illegal and unsafe means to end pregnancies; we know this because we already have seen the impact of a world without safe and legal abortion.
An unsafe abortion is defined as the termination of a pregnancy performed by people lacking the necessary skills, or in an environment lacking minimal medical standards, or both. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), currently, an estimated 68,000 women die annually worldwide as a result of complications of unsafe abortion; and between two million and seven million women each year survive unsafe abortion but sustain long-term damage or disease. “Restrictive laws equal high proportions of unsafe abortions. Evidence shows that in countries where abortion is completely banned or allowed only to save the women’s life or her physical health, only 1 in 4 abortions were safe – whereas in countries where abortion is legal on broader grounds nearly 9 in 10 abortions were safe,” (WHO 2017)
“Give me liberty or give me death.” We hold up this Patrick Henry quote as a patriotic ideal. That is exactly how far women will have to go for freedom to make our own decisions about our bodies, our families, our careers, and the directions we want our lives to go. The ability to control when and if we have children allows us to control our own destinies. Without that, we are not free.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh has already ruled to limit access to safe, legal abortion and ruled against women’s access to birth control. It’s clear he cannot be trusted to uphold the precedent of Roe v. Wade – that the constitution affords every person the individual liberty to make decisions about their body and their relationships. Restrictive laws do not equal fewer abortions, but more unsafe abortions.
We also know, as the nation listened to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s brave testimony, that Judge Kavanaugh will not protect the safety of women and girls and all sexual assault survivors.
What you can do: Join Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s 11 million supporters across the country as we flood the phone lines and offices of U.S. senators to demand that they reject any Supreme Court nominee that opposes Roe v. Wade and the right to safe, legal abortion. Here is a list of all senators’ contact information: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm. Call your senators to let them know how you feel. Luckily, here in New Jersey, our two Senators, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, are staunch supporters of reproductive health care. Make sure you give them a call to say thank you.
You can also make your voice heard right here in New Jersey. Last month, our state legislators introduced a resolution to formally oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and show their support for safe, legal abortion. And while the Assembly proudly passed that resolution, the Senate avoided putting it up for a vote. It appears the Senators are protecting one another instead of protecting NJ women. Click here to send them a message.
Now is the time to unite, show our power, and make sure all of us have the right and opportunity to live full, healthy lives. We won’t stop until every woman, person of color, immigrant, LGBTQ person, and others being targeted by the Trump-Pence administration can control their bodies and their lives. Only then will we have liberty.