Are opponents of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination engaged in “a scare tactic” when they contend that his confirmation would lead to overturning Roe v. Wade ? Kavanaugh’s supporters claim as much, and some elite commentators agree, suggesting that a reversal of Roe is less likely than an incremental chipping away at a woman’s right to choose.
But what if the opposite is true? What if opponents of Kavanaugh’s confirmation are actually understating the threat to reproductive freedom? That prospect merits serious consideration at next month’s Judiciary Committee hearings.
Let’s start with Roe itself. Far from being “unlikely,” the prospect that Roe will be overturned if Kavanaugh is confirmed is the most obvious outcome. For decades, the court has relentlessly weakened Roe — rejecting a right to abortion access for poor women, upholding restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, even allowing so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” to mislead to women about their choices. An increasingly conservative roster of justices has played judicial Jenga with Roe — pulling out one underpinning after another, waiting to see what will bring it down.