Imagine being 17 years old, pregnant and alone in a foreign country. You’re detained in a shelter for children, where your pleas for an abortion are denied for weeks on end. Your belly is growing, along with the fear that you’ll be forced into motherhood against your will by a government that doesn’t even want you here in the first place.
That was the experience of Jane Doe, an undocumented teen immigrant who discovered she was pregnant shortly after crossing the border. She begged for access to abortion care for over a month, only to have her requests formally denied by the Trump administration. Eventually, in a 6-3 ruling, a federal appeals court ordered that the teen be “promptly and without delay” transported to an abortion provider before it was too late.
One of the dissenting judges vehemently disagreed with the ruling, writing that “the majority has badly erred in this case” by establishing “a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. Government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.”
That judge is Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s latest nominee for the Supreme Court. Democrats in Congress are trying to halt his confirmation hearing until the already-damning Mueller probe is resolved—but they can’t do it without your help.
There is no doubt about it: Kavanaugh will be an unmitigated disaster for women’s rights. Although his record on reproductive issues is thin, his dissent in this case and others signals an open hostility to American women.
As things stand, our constitutional right to abortion hangs by a delicate thread. Justice Kennedy was the swing vote on Roe v. Wade, and now that he’s retiring, Kavanaugh is poised to make good on President Trump’s promise to overturn Roe—or at the very least, chip away at it until there is barely anything left.
If another anti-choice justice is appointed to the Supreme Court, the Court will likely be open to hearing challenges to abortion laws that it previously would not have, paving the way for states to aggressively litigate abortion.
Our lives are at stake here, and that’s not an exaggeration. If the highest court in our land is stacked with judges who would reduce, if not outright eliminate, abortion access, women will die. We know this. Making abortion illegal doesn’t stop it from happening, it merely makes it dangerous and deadly.
Are alarm bells ringing in your head yet?
Abortion rights groups like NARAL have come out swinging against Kavanaugh’s nomination, and rightfully so. But the onus shouldn’t fall squarely on the shoulders of pro-choice organizations; we, as individuals, must shout about this, too.
I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a country that actively devalues her bodily autonomy. I don’t want any girl or woman to suffer the burden that Jane Doe, and others like her, did. It’s cruel, and it strips all women of our dignity.
Becoming a parent has been the greatest joy of my life—not because it’s my so-called biological destiny, but because I was ready for it and wanted it. Every person should likewise have the opportunity to decide whether and when to enter motherhood. But if President Trump and the GOP have their way, with Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, this choice—this right—is in grave jeopardy.
August 26 is a national day of action to unite and protect Roe. I hope you’ll join me then—and now—in raising your voices in support of reproductive rights.