National Partnership for Women & Families

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Judith Lichtman, Senior Advisor

From the desk of ... Judith L. Lichtman

Gotcha? Hardly!

In his latest online column, Bret Stephens smugly lectures progressives and Democrats for what he sees as a lost and misguided cause, opposing confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. Supreme Court. As part of his argument, Stephens takes me to task for having opposed confirmation of David Souter nearly 30 years ago.

Let me be clear: I apologize to no one for taking that position, nor do any of us who care about women’s rights and freedoms. When President George H.W. Bush nominated him, there was no reason to believe Souter wouldn’t vote to take away our right to choose abortion and other crucial civil and human rights. Souter’s record was concerning, his answers to questions from senators evasive. It was a happy and very welcome surprise when Souter turned out to be a man of conscience, but there was no way we could have known that. And it would have been reckless for women to bet our lives on that unlikely outcome — just as it would be utterly senseless for us to bet our lives on Brett Kavanaugh doing an about-face and suddenly showing decency and respect for women’s rights today.

Further, we know that the radical anti-abortion movement considers the Souter nomination to have been a terrible mistake; its leaders have gone to extreme lengths to ensure they never again appoint a justice who respects women’s rights and freedoms. On that point, President Trump has been an open book. He has told us who Brett Kavanaugh is and what test Kavanaugh had to pass to win this nomination. Kavanaugh would be a justice who sides with wealthy corporations, with those who discriminate and pollute, and with those who want to take away women’s most fundamental rights. In doing so, he would jeopardize and diminish women’s lives.

That is what’s at stake here: our lives. Our right to abortion care and ability to access it is about our health, the well-being and future of our families, our autonomy and our dignity. Ultimately it is about our ability to be equal.

So while Bret Stephens handicaps the battle, we fight for women’s lives. For me, it’s about the future my daughters and granddaughters deserve. I’ll never apologize for that.


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