Guest Post from Erin Davison-Rippey

It’s now clear that the courts are going to be the last – and sometimes only – line of defense against dangerous and unconstitutional attacks on our basic rights. This places incredible importance on Supreme Court nominations, which have never been more crucial than they are today. Nominees to the Supreme Court must be prepared to defend the Constitution against actions that show little regard for the rule of law or our shared American values. And they must make clear that they will uphold Roe v. Wade.

At risk with President Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and access to health care, the right to vote, and the right of all people in this country to be free from discrimination based on who they love, where they come from, their race, and their religious beliefs. Specifically, Judge Gorsuch has an alarming history of interfering with reproductive rights and health, including women’s access to birth control and care at Planned Parenthood.

Gorsuch sided with a politician who “defunded” Planned Parenthood in Utah and wanted to deny people access to STD tests, health education, and other preventive health care. In fact, Gorsuch wanted to allow the state of Utah to block access to health care and education for thousands of Planned Parenthood’s patients. Had this policy gone into effect, it would have removed access to an after-school sex education program for teens, as well as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing and treatment for at-risk communities.

Additionally, Judge Gorsuch ruled in favor of the idea that corporations are people, and he believes that bosses should be able to impede their employees’ access to birth control. In fact, he would go even further than the Hobby Lobby decision in blocking employees’ access to insurance coverage for birth control.

This is not what the American people want. People simply don’t believe that politicians or judges should be making decisions for women about their birth control or their pregnancies. New polling from PerryUndem Research shows that 70% of voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood – including 50% of Trump voters. Here in Iowa, a recent poll shows that 77% of Iowans oppose defunding, including 62% of Republicans and evangelical Christians. And this is all while support for Roe v. Wade is at a record high, with about seven in 10 Americans not wanting it overturned.

Access to safe and legal abortion has been the law of the land for more than 40 years, and it is a part of the fabric of America. This is clearly established precedent, and shouldn’t be up for debate. Rather than re-litigating this settled law, we should be work together to build on the great progress we’ve made in expanding access to birth control and reproductive health care in this country.

Opposition to Roe v. Wade and women’s access to birth control should be a disqualifier for nominees to the highest court in the land. Nominees must make clear that they will protect our fundamental rights – including the right of a woman to bodily autonomy. Judge Gorsuch fails this basic test of protecting our rights, and we urge every Senator to oppose his confirmation.

 

by Erin Davison-Rippey
Posted 3/15/17

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