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It’s Naive to Think a Conservative Supreme Court Wouldn’t Target Roe v. Wade


If appointed, Brett Kavanaugh will shift Supreme Court power rightward–with potentially dire consequences for women’s rights. Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion across the U.S., has become a litmus test for nominees. While liberal judges pledge to uphold Roe, conservative ones like Kavanaugh often resort to vague responses about respecting precedent, giving moderate Republican Senators–in this case, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski–a guilt-free green light.

But Kavanaugh is supported by the conservative Federalist Society. Moneyed right-wing groups have long been drafting anti-abortion legislation for GOP lawmakers, further emboldened after the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey allowed states to restrict access to abortions. Now, with long waiting periods and forced clinic closures, Roe is already a shell of itself. Restrictions are so tight in some states that more women are turning to self-induced abortions.

“As we’re moving forward at the state level, we end up hollowing out Roe even without the Supreme Court,” Charmaine Yoest, former president and CEO of Americans United for Life, which writes anti-abortion legislation, told the New York Times in 2012. “That’s really where our strategy is so solid.”

Four states already have laws that will ban abortion if Roe is overturned; another 10 still have pre-Roe abortion bans they could enforce; and seven more have indicated that they will ban abortion if Roe goes. It’s clear that appointing Kavanaugh is conservatives’ final push to strip women of their right to safe abortion access. It’s a hit we’ve long seen coming.

Filipovic is an attorney and the author of The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness

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