The spotlight is on the Supreme Court in Washington. “Can you think of any laws that give governments the power to make decisions over the male body?” Kamala Harris, a Democratic senator asked at the confirmation hearings for nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Cameras stood prepared to spot any sign of insecurity or weakness. The grown middle-aged man in an inconspicuous blue suit was sitting in front of lawyers, senators and judges. The audience stared in silence. “I’m not thinking of any right now senator.” Kavanaugh said.
Harris repeated this question two times. Brett Kavanaugh, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was the target of the three-days process and is known for his conservative view on abortion rights.
During President Donald Trump’s nominee confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh struggled with answering questions about the importance of Roe v. Wade — the controversial case on Supreme Court in 1973 concerning a young woman with the will to terminate her pregnancy. She was not allowed by Texas district attorney Henry Wade since each state could make up restrictions of its own. The discussion was leveled to the Supreme Court and led to the new law counting for all states that a fetus can be aborted within the first three months of a pregnancy.
Calling the commonly known case on abortion rights “a precedent on precedent but not settled law,” caused many women present to protest. A poster in the audience’s rows with the slogan “Roe – Yes. Kava – No.” was one example of how voices have grown louder lately after Donald Trump has elected Brett Kavanaugh. Many feel that Kavanaugh should follow the former Supreme Court moderate judge Anthony Kennedy.
As far as the confirmation hearings went, Kavanaugh easily could be elected by the end of September to vote on ground breaking issues that Americans care about in their everyday lives. According to TIME Magazine, “Kavanaugh seems likeliest to change the court through his dogged conservatism.”
USA Today has reported a case last year where the nominee had to decide if an immigrant girl in federal custody was allowed to abort her fetus. Kavanaugh refused with the explanation that the government “has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor and refraining from facilitating abortion.”
Tara S. Ivie, Senior Director of the UVU Women’s Success Center, had some lasting concerns about the President’s nominee.
“Throughout the years the court has shifted between conservative and liberal ideologies based on who was sitting on the bench. Confirming a conservative justice will undoubtedly move the court in a more conservative direction,” Ivie said. “One of the biggest changes we face as a society is to be politically passive. We tend to sit back and watch what happens, rather than engaging in the process, [which] is the only way we can have impact on our leaders.”
As Roe v. Wade represents the court’s decision for legally terminating a pregnancy in all American states, it awards women the right of privacy which contains the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Hanna Sauer, a communication major at UVU says she does not support Donald Trump’s nominee.
“Although I don’t know if I personally would choose to terminate a pregnancy, it’s so important for women to have the right to make that decision for themselves, and Kavanaugh is endangering that right” said Sauer.
Psychology major, Haven Houston says she too agrees with Sauer that women deserve the right to have the option to choose.
“I believe that a woman’s body is her most prized possession. We are walking goddesses, every single one of us. If we don’t have the right to control what happens with our body, we have nothing at all. I personally think that there are other alternatives to abortion like adoption, but some women are bedridden and don’t have that option,” said Houston.
Referring back to the hearings, not only have the voices grown louder inside the courtroom, but also outside of the Supreme Court where hundreds of protestants came together to vocalize their opinion on Donald Trump’s nominee. According to USA Today, senator Bernie Sanders is actively involved in pushing for women’s rights, asking the crowd at one point if they were ready for a fight to defend Roe vs. Wade.
Illustration by Eileen Lechtenborger