August 21, 2018

Duckworth: Kavanaugh’s Confirmation to Supreme Court Would Threaten Access to Health Care for Women of Color


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and several women of color to outline how confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court could threaten access to affordable, accessible healthcare for women of color. Speaking at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol alongside representatives from the National Women’s Law Center, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and a Planned Parenthood NYC patient, Duckworth highlighted how several of Kavanaugh’s previous rulings and speeches indicated he believes the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Video of her remarks is available online here and photos are available here.

“As a woman of color, a mother and a Veteran with a number of pre-existing conditions, I know just how valuable—how life-changing—affordable health care can be,” Duckworth said. “We cannot go back to the old days when women of color were charged more for insurance. We deserve better than a judge who’s already used his power to make it harder for us to access care.”

In her remarks, Duckworth spoke about how valuable and life-changing affordable health care can be as someone who depended on Planned Parenthood for basic check-ups when she was in college, struggled for years to get pregnant, and has a host of pre-existing conditions. She emphasized how a court ruling invalidating the Affordable Care Act would allow insurance companies to go back to charging women more for basic health care needs and once again charge people with pre-existing conditions significantly more for their healthcare. Duckworth also highlighted how women of color have increased rates of maternal mortality and higher rates of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS, which would put them at risk of being priced out of insurance plans were the Affordable Care Act overturned or struck down by the Supreme Court.

In his dissent of Sissel v. United States, Kavanaugh argued that the D.C. Circuit should consider a claim that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was unconstitutional, raising concerns that he would side with a number of Republican Attorneys General who are currently suing to strike down the law and eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions if the case reaches the Supreme Court. In Garza v. Hargan, Kavanaugh attempted to prevent a young undocumented women from accessing a safe, legal abortion but was overruled by the full court. In 2017, Kavanaugh also praised former Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s dissent in Roe v. Wade.