The Oakland Post

Political Focus: Kavanaugh faces new resistance as hearings reach fourth day

Ben Hume, Staff Reporter

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Brett Kavanaugh has had a difficult time in his multitude of hearings over the past few days. Women afraid of losing reproductive rights have massed in force, and Democratic senators were prepared to rake him over the coals. Going into the hearings, many already had concerns about Kavanaugh’s interpretation of multiple Supreme Court decisions, such as Roe v. Wade and gay marriage. As it turns out, three full days of questioning did not do much to get rid of these concerns.

Kavanaugh was quickly questioned about his interpretation of Roe v. Wade after old documents surfaced that suggested he did not believe that Roe v. Wade was a settled case. If he was still under this belief, there would then be an opportunity for abortion rights to reappear on the Supreme Court level, this time with a Republican anti-choice majority. When questioned about it, Kavanaugh said Roe v. Wade was “entitled to respect,” and he did confirm in person to some senators that he believed the case was settled law, but the time it took for him to make this simple response makes me uncomfortable.

I am sure that many will accuse worried women of overreacting and say that there is far too much precedent for a case settled in 1973 to be overturned. I am not so sure that their fears are unfounded. Kavanaugh referred to birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs,” and for anyone familiar with how rhetoric in politics is used manipulatively, this wording is obscene. It takes a drug with a multitude of purposes for women that do not just include birth control and makes it one-dimensional, and it shows that a Supreme Court nominee believes that preventative measures are equivalent to an abortion, which is false.

I know an ally of the pro-life community is good news for many. If it is not already obvious, I am not one of these people. But a member of the highest court in the land should not be using such manipulative language when talking about something he obviously does not understand. If you want your stance to be anti-abortion, fine. That’s a legitimate stance, even if it is one I do not agree with. But equating birth control and abortion is not the way to take that stance, and this is why people should still be concerned about the safety of Roe v. Wade.

That was only the first major concern going into the senate hearings. The second was the safety of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalized gay marriage. California senator Kamala Harris questioned Kavanaugh about his stance on the issue, and he quickly declined to comment on if the case was correctly decided. With the final vote coming soon, it seems as though this answer was enough for him to keep a majority of senators on his side.

Only two Republican senators are on the fence, and after the hearings it is likely that Maine centrist Susan Collins was satisfied by Kavanaugh’s answer that Roe v. Wade is settled. But she and Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski are about the only votes Kavanaugh needs to be confirmed. Both of them voting no might save the vote, but as the deadline inches closer, it’s looking worse and worse for women’s rights.

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