In this Aug. 7, 2018, photo. President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, officiates at the swearing-in of Judge Britt Grant to take a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta at the U.S. District Courthouse in Washington. America is about to get its first extended look at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo | J. Scott Applewhite)

In this Aug. 7, 2018, photo. President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, officiates at the swearing-in of Judge Britt Grant to take a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta at the U.S. District Courthouse in Washington. America is about to get its first extended look at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo | J. Scott Applewhite)

Opinion: America needs a centrist judge, not Kavanaugh

This happened to a dear friend of mine. She was ardent advocate of abortion rights.

She is dead now, but I will tell you what I know:

It was 1969 in Alaska. Abortion wouldn’t become legal here until 1970. She was 27, married and had other children. She was pregnant. Her options were limited, but she chose a back-alley abortion. I don’t have the details, but at some point following the illegal procedure she was rushed to the hospital. She required four pints of blood. If she hadn’t been near a hospital she would have died. It wasn’t safe; it was life threatening.

This woman became an outspoken defender of reproductive rights. I am sure her horrendous experience created her passion. She frequently raised funds for women to get abortions when they couldn’t afford one. She worked to elect people to political office who believed women should be trusted to make this most private of decisions.

I don’t know why she sought the abortion. I just know she did. Women around the world seek to end their pregnancies for personal reasons even in places where it is illegal. Many continue to die in the effort leaving other children without mothers. “At least 8 percent of maternal deaths worldwide are from unsafe abortion; at least 22,800 women die each year from complications of unsafe abortion,” according to a March report from the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute.

In the U.S., we’ve forgotten the consequences of illegal abortion. Many doctors performed abortions immediately after it became legal. They did so because they had seen the trauma that occurs when a woman attempts to end her pregnancy or seeks an illegal one. We forget that women died, women who had children, women who were desperate. We need abortion to be safe, legal and accessible.

I want all judges to have empathy. Kavanaugh showed his indifference to the young immigrant woman who found herself in a detention center and pregnant. She did not know her future. She wanted to end her pregnancy; she knew it was the best decision for her. Why wasn’t she trusted? His actions directly show he wants to overturn Roe.

Kavanaugh has sided with corporations to make contraception more difficult to get. If he has his way healthcare coverage would not be required to cover birth control. This is an economic issue for low-income women. It can be a choice of food, rent or pills. How many more abortions does he want?

Kavanaugh should not be confirmed for these reasons and more. People across the country are fearful for their children. They want sensible gun laws. Kavanaugh believes we should not ban assault weapons like the AR-15.

Kavanaugh also doesn’t think there should be a limit to campaign donations. Americans are already unhappy with Citizens United.

What this country needs is a judge who is a centrist. America does not need to be further divided. Please do not vote to place Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court.


• Robin Smith lives in Anchorage. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


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