Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh puts reproductive rights at risk, Foley Square protesters say

Protesters oppose Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court by President Trump in Foley Square on Tuesday, July 10, 2018.
Protesters oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court by President Trump in Foley Square on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Photo Credit: Evan Paul English / evanpaulenglish.com

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court drew outrage from national women’s organizations and elected officials, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who protested the nod in Foley Square on Tuesday.

Maloney echoed concerns that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would put reproductive rights at risk.

“We don’t need a Trump yes-man on the Supreme Court,” Maloney said, adding: “We don’t need another mouthpiece of a Supreme Court from President [Donald] Trump. We don’t need another representative at a conservative think tank. We need someone who will be fair and will listen to sides. We have to show this country and this Senate and everyone where we stand on basic rights for people.”

Protesters held pro-Planned Parenthood signs, chanting “hey, hey, ho, ho, Kavanaugh has got to go,” while others held handwritten signs reading “Legal Abortion Saves Lives” and “Protect Roe Save Scotus.”

Advocates said they worried the appointment would create a five-judge majority of conservatives on the Supreme Court, potentially creating a path to overturn Roe V. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Trudy Mason, vice chair of the state’s Democratic Committee, lamented the need to fight for women’s reproductive rights, having had an illegal abortion herself in the late 1960s.

“I was one of the lucky ones, because I survived,” Mason said. “I wore a coat hanger pin for the longest time because a lot of women did their self-abortions with coat hangers.

“The fact that after 50 years, I have to be standing here talking about a woman’s right to choose, a woman’s right to take care of her own body and not have an illegal abortion — it kills me to do it, but thank God I’m still here and able to speak out,” Mason added.

Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City, said Kavanaugh’s conservative values worried her when it comes to issues like sexual and reproductive health rights, as well as immigration and LGBTQ rights.

“This is really the closest we’ve come to having individual freedoms in this country that have been established in the last fifty years completely shattered,” McQuade said. “People in this country have been clear: access to safe and legal abortion is something that they not only want, but we need to protect it.”

President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill retired-Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat Monday night. The 53-year-old Yale Law School graduate has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006, and was previously a White House counsel and staff secretary to President George W. Bush.