Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Gov. Kate Brown and partners from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, at a press conference today spotlighted the risk facing women in Oregon and across the country if an extremist is allowed to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who last week announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This vacancy is a disaster for everyone who believes in the ‘We the People’ vision of the Constitution,” Merkley said. “So much is at stake in this battle. We stand on the precipice of going back to a time in our history—many decades ago—when women’s access to contraception or abortion was limited by what politicians and bosses say is ok. We cannot let that happen. If the Senate confirms one of the names from the Federalist Society’s list of extreme jurists that Donald Trump said he will use to fill this seat, our country’s most fundamental values will remain under attack for decades to come. It is up to each of us to ensure that does not happen.”
“If Trump gets his way and appoints an extremist to the Supreme Court, women everywhere could lose the freedom to make what should be their own private health care decisions,” Bonamici said. “We can’t let that happen. A right-wing Supreme Court could undo decades of judicial precedent, throw out Roe v. Wade, and dismantle the important decisions that have created a level playing field for women in this country. I’m proud to join with Senator Merkley in demanding a Supreme Court nominee who is unbiased, impartial, and committed to upholding judicial precedent.”
“The stakes for the nomination of our next Supreme Court justice could not be higher. Health care coverage for women and people with pre-existing conditions hangs in the balance,” Brown said. “Everyone deserves the ability to make informed decisions about their health and to control their bodies. I find it appalling that the Trump administration is using its nomination to the court to take our country backward and rob people of the right to complete medical information and full access to critical health care services. We must raise all of our voices to make sure that this ninth vote on the Supreme Court is not a strike against our women and families across America.”
“Who sits on this court will determine the course of our history, and the course of countless women’s lives. They will decide whether our government trusts women to make their own decisions about their bodies,” said Lisa Gardner, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon. “Abortion has been legal in this country for more than 40 years. Most women today have only known a country where they have the right to access abortion — but those rights could disappear if we don’t stop extreme judges from being appointed to our highest court. We cannot allow our daughters and granddaughters to have fewer rights than we do. The Senate must reject any Supreme Court nominee that opposes Roe v. Wade and the right to safe, legal abortion.”
“This is a historic moment. For years, Justice Kennedy held together a delicate majority that protected the constitutional right to abortion—and the fundamental abilityof women to control their own lives, economic circumstances, and futures. Now, with this new Supreme Court vacancy, the threat to Roe v. Wade has never been more imminent,” said Grayson Dempsey, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon.“We know what’s at stake and will never go back to a time when abortion was illegal and unsafe. Oregonians overwhelmingly support the right to safe, legal abortion, and throughout the nation, 7 in 10 Americans support Roe v. Wade and access to abortion care. We can organize, and we can win, and we are glad to have Oregon’s leaders on our side.”
Trump has reportedly been meeting with potential nominees and has said he will announce his decision on July 9. He has said that he will appoint jurists who would overturn Roe v. Wade, putting at risk women’s right to reproductive health care and fundamental privacy. Senate Democrats are calling on the majority to postpone a confirmation hearing and vote until after the November elections, when Americans will have the opportunity to choose their vision for the nation going forward.