Roe Isn’t Going Down Without a Fight.

President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court is bad news for reproductive rights.

That Judge Kavanaugh's record on abortion and contraception is slim will be used by his supporters to paint his views as moderate, but let's get real: The president promised to nominate only justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and his potential nominees were vetted by a committed abortion opponent, Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society. There is no reason not to take Mr. Trump at his word.

What should the pro-choice movement be doing — right now and in the months and years to come?

First of all, we mustn't give up in advance. The learned helplessness of too many Democrats in the face of Republican intransigence is one reason we've ended up in this awful place.

So tattoo this on your brain: Abortion rights is the majority position. Sixty-seven percent of Americans do not want Roe to be overturned. Moreover, nearly one in four women will have an abortion by age 45, and most of those women will have had people — family, partners, friends — who helped them. That gives us a very large potential base to resist President Trump's pick. If we can get all 47 Democrats, the two independents and two Republicans to push the nomination vote until after the midterms and then use the issue (and so many others) to take back the Senate, we can hold out for a nominee who will promise to preserve Roe. Unlikely? Definitely, especially given that three Democrats (Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly) voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch, but let's not start out pre-defeated.Millions are on our side. Think of all those Women's Marchers and fired-up resisters who've been organizing campaigns, knocking on doors and winning primaries and elections all over the country, to the great surprise of mainstream pundits. Think of all those newly engaged young activists. There is an army of enraged citizens out there.

Here's what we should do:

We need to mobilize in the states. For some reason, many abortion rights advocates have had a hard time grasping that the state level is where most abortion restrictions happen. If Roe is overturned, each state will be free to make its own laws. Every state election and every legislative session will become a battlefield. We need to get ready by electing legislators and governors now who support women's reproductive rights. As of now, 17 states have laws that will ban or greatly restrict abortion the minute Roe is overturned. Only nine have laws to protect the right to an abortionregardless of Roe. We need to educate people today on the abortion politics of their state. If we wait until Roe is overturned, it will be too late.

We need to fight stigma and ignorance about abortion. Abortion opponents have been very successful at portraying abortion as dangerous, providers as money-grubbers and women who seek abortion as selfish, sluttish or "confused." People need to know that the risk of death due to childbirth is about14 times greater than the risk of death from abortion, that the vast majority of women who have abortions do not regret it and that contrary to stereotypes, 59 percent of abortions are obtained by women who are mothers.

Women who've had abortions — that one in four — have great power to move hearts and change minds by simply telling their stories. Whether or not we can share personal experience, we need to start talking about reproductive rights with friends and neighbors and relatives — all those people with whom we've been avoiding the subject to keep our secrets and keep the peace. People need to know that women they love have ended pregnancies, and for good reasons.We need to expand our movement. Despite some progress, it is still too white and well-off. As the theology scholar and reproductive justice activist Toni Bond Leonard put it in an online discussion: "We have to acknowledge that Roe has been chipped away at and women of color, young women, and poor women have been denied access for years. What we cannot do is make the same mistake in efforts to protect Roe that were made when it was first legalized, and ignore the voices of women of color." She said that kind of oversight is how we ended up with the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal Medicaid funds from going to most abortions. This time around, "everybody needs to be at the table."

We need to make more allies. Doctors were crucial to the Roe decision — Justice Harry Blackmun spent more words on the plight of doctors barred by abortion bans from giving their patients the care they needed than he did on women's right to decide when and if to have a baby. But we haven't heard nearly enough from them since. They need to defend contraception and abortion as an essential part of women's health care. While they're at it, they need to stand with their colleagues who risk their lives to provide this care.

The same is true of the clergy and religious people. You'd never know it from the media, where "Christian" is practically synonymous with evangelical or fundamentalist Protestants, but most Christians support abortion rights. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, majorities of white mainline Protestants, black Protestants and — yes — Catholics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Even among white evangelicals, 29 percent take that view. We need these voices to reach people who think, wrongly, that to be a good Christian is to oppose legal abortion and prevent women from having them.

Finally, we need to have hope. When abortion was illegal, women still had abortions in great numbers. That will happen again, and it will fuel resistance. As the historian of abortion Rickie Solinger told me, "Criminalizing sex-and-pregnancy management will stimulate women, as before Roe, to enact mass disrespect for the law. We are heading for some wild disobedience."

Imagine a nation of women prepared to break the law to shape their own lives on their own terms. That could get pretty radical, especially if they help others to do the same.

Katha Pollitt (@KathaPollitt), a columnist at The Nation, is the author of "Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights." She published this in the New York Times on June 10, 2018.


June 12, 2018

Post Script. #StopKavanaugh isn't just about Roe, but above are some ways to mobilize on Roe and reproductive rights. For now, keep calling too.Joe Manchin (WV) (202) 224-3954Joe Donnelly (IN) (202) 224-4814Heidi Heitkamp (ND)(202) 224-2043Lisa Murkowski (AK)(202) 224-6665Susan Collins (ME)(202) 224-2523Doug Jones (AL) (202) 224-4124.

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