Anti-choice groups welcomed President Trump’s nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, vowing to support the nominee through the confirmation process, chastising pro-choice groups for their opposition, and acknowledging the potential Kavanaugh has to criminalize abortion care.
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, noted that Trump’s nominee “represents another promise kept” when it comes to nominating anti-choice justices to the Court. “We plan to actively support this nomination in what is expected to be a contentious confirmation process,” he noted.
Newman criticized pro-choice advocates for opposing Kavanaugh based on his record on abortion rights. “Elections have consequences,” he said. “You are not entitled to a justice that will bow to your demands …. You will not win.”
Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council, criticized pro-choice advocates for focusing on the consequences Trump’s Court pick could have on abortion rights. “From the day Justice Kennedy retired, the Left has sought to make this vacancy all about abortion—even though many other significant issues are at stake including religious freedom and free speech,” he said in a statement.
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Perkins noted that Kavanaugh had ruled with anti-choice advocates in certain cases. “Under the Obama administration, we saw a growing assault on religious freedom and the courts became a battleground for secularists seeking to remove faith from the public square. Judge Kavanaugh resisted this trend in at least two instances—an HHS contraceptive mandate case and in an opinion supporting inauguration prayers,” Perkins said.
Some groups didn’t mention abortion while applauding Kavanaugh’s constitutional originalist leanings. “Any judge or justice should interpret the Constitution faithfully and according to the intent of the Founders who wrote it. The president promised to appoint justices committed to doing just that, and we’re hopeful Judge Kavanaugh shares that commitment,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) President Michael Farris said in a statement. “While ADF doesn’t take a position on the merits of Supreme Court nominees, we, like most Americans, believe that respecting the Constitution in this way is essential to protect our precious freedoms, including our first freedom—the right to peacefully live and work consistently with one’s religious beliefs.”
Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins called Kavanaugh “a bold choice for the high court,” claiming the judge’s “record of respect for the law is vital as so many activists attempt to use the courts to push their own social agendas.” She promised the organization would advocate for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “We are prepared for the ground game of this confirmation,” said Hawkins, “and we will be networking with students nationwide, equipping them to make their voices heard.”
Others were more explicit in their jubilation at potentially taking away the right to access abortion care. “President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh could be the beginning of the end for Roe v. Wade,” said John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, in a statement. “In his first session, the new justice will hear cases pro-life legislation already at the circuit court level, including a challenge to Texas’ powerful and dynamic pro-life dismemberment abortion ban, which is expected to be appealed to SCOTUS this year.”
Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of anti-choice legislation mill Americans United for Life, praised Trump’s choice for the Court, suggesting the group believed Kavanaugh would be “committed to the text of the Constitution and to the rule of law, including legal protections for human life.”
“This is a seminal moment for America. It’s a crucial chance to shift the Court back to a majority that does not look to Roe and Casey,” she added.
Lila Rose, president of the discredited anti-choice group Live Action, noted in a statement that Kavanaugh’s nomination could be critical to the anti-choice movement. “We hope that with Brett Kavanaugh, the court ensures that our very first right, the right to life, will be protected by our laws rather than trampled on them,” said Rose.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser highlighted Kavanaugh’s anti-choice bona fides. “Judge Kavanaugh is an experienced, principled jurist with a strong record of protecting life and constitutional rights, as evidenced by his opinions in Garza v. Hargan and Priests for Life v. HHS,” she said in a statement before promising to mobilize to sway potential swing votes in the U.S. Senate. “Vulnerable senators up for re-election this year have a choice: stand with the President and their constituents and confirm a Supreme Court justice who will respect and uphold the Constitution, or cave to pressure from the extreme abortion lobby. If every self-avowed pro-life senator votes the right way, Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed easily.”
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said in a statement that Kavanaugh was “another strong nominee” for the Supreme Court. “We thank President Trump for delivering on his campaign promise by choosing another Gorsuch-like nominee,” Mancini said, noting that March for Life would “work to assure that Judge Kavanaugh has a fair confirmation process.”
The Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, called it a “historic night” and said Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh was “history in the making.”
“It’s an exciting night, we are very pleased with this choice and we thank the president,” Pavone said in a video posted to Facebook. “He’s going to rule in a way that is truly going to bring America back closer and closer to its foundational principles, I am very, very confident in this choice …. I want you to be confident as well.”