On September 4, confirmation hearings for Supreme Court hopeful Brett Kavanaugh began, despite the fact that he was appointed well before the Senate Judiciary Committee received, let alone had time to review, the thousands of documents detailing his work in the Bush administration.  Yep, even though he was nominated by a president under investigation for conspiracy in federal court,  Kavanaugh was allowed to give testimony – if you can call his evasion of key questions like the existence of enumerated rights like abortion and privacy a testimonial.
At Reproaction, we stand in solidarity and admiration of those who took civil disobedience to disrupt the hearings that week.  We also wanted to take action to localize the issue and highlight that Kavanaugh’s confirmation wouldn’t just be a disaster in federal politics, but would cause real upset in our communities.
I live in Manhattan, and while many view my liberal-leaning home state as ‘safe’ from the harms of this political climate, there’s still a lot at stake for people needing reproductive care, low-income people, and people of color in particular. Not only that, but we watched our own Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) – the Senate Minority Leader – confirm 15 of Trump’s judicial appointees during the week prior to the beginning of the Kavanaugh hearings.  It didn’t inspire much confidence that he’d act boldly to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Back in July, Reproaction sent Senator Schumer this letter to compel him to act to save abortion rights, and without response by the hearing day, we decided to make our request a little clearer. With our partners at Lady Parts Justice, we planned a picket in front of his Manhattan office on the day of the hearings to let New Yorkers know that they should still call their Senator and tell him to fight for us!
About 25 of us chanted, passed out informational leaflets, and shared our reasons for taking action that day. It was a happy and energizing event, as actions with Lady Parts Justice so often are, and that’s just the thing we need to keep momentum going. This fight’s going to be long, and that means we need our allies to hold strong. I’m proud that our activists agreed it’s important to call in the left just as much as calling out the right.
Unfortunately, Kavanaugh was later confirmed even after credible sexual assault allegations against him were revealed and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford bravely shared her story before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Our activism will continue.