Democratic Women Senators, Joined By Women’s Groups And Patients, Discussed Why Judge Kavanaugh’s Nomination To The Supreme Court Poses Grave Threat To The Future Of Affordable, Accessible Health Care For Women Of Color

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined the National Women’s Law Center, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and a Planned Parenthood NYC patient for a press conference to discuss how Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination poses a grave threat to affordable, accessible health care for women of color.

Speakers shared how prior to our current health care system, being a woman in and of itself was considered a pre-existing condition, allowing insurance companies to charge women more for basic health care needs. They 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, thus needing vital protections like those preventing discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions and outlawing charging women more for care, which are currently under assault by the Trump administration and Republicans in our courts.

Senator Mazie Hirono said, “The same interests who are behind Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination are using the federal courts to take away health care protections from millions of Americans with preexisting conditions —including illnesses that disproportionately affect women of color such as heart disease, cancer, and viral hepatitis. That is why Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. He has the burden of proof to show that he understands that the Constitution protects all Americans, not just the powerful.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Women of color already face so many barriers to accessing health care, and black women in America are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, these problems will only get worse, and it will be even harder for women of color to get the medical care they need. This Supreme Court nominee is the wrong choice for our country, and we must do everything we can to make sure the Senate does not confirm him.”

“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,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth. “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.”

Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center said, “The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh puts the future of health care in this country at risk. If a case challenging the health care law works its way up to a Supreme Court that has Kavanaugh on it, we could see the Court undermine – or completely get rid of – the Affordable Care Act. If that happens, women’s health will suffer. The health and lives of women and families cannot be left in the hands of Brett Kavanaugh.”

“Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s lengthy and egregious judicial record shows that he is a threat to undocumented individuals, access to reproductive health care services, and safe, legal abortion,” said Ann Marie Benitez, Senior Director of Government Relations, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “If appointed, he will have a devastating impact on immigrants, communities of color, women’s health and the LGBTQ community for generations to come. A Supreme Court justice must protect and uphold the constitutional rights of all people, not a privileged few. We demand for the Senate to reject his anti-woman, anti-choice, and anti-immigrant record and block Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment.”

Rhea Beddoe, Planned Parenthood NYC patient said, “If Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed to the Supreme Court, he could decimate women’s access to affordable, preventive health care. The kind that confirmed that I was clear of pre-cancerous cells or that could catch another woman’s cancer early enough to save her life. It’s the difference between having the ability to access preventative care or losing future fertility. I have felt that fear and uncertainty – and I believe no one in the U.S. in 2018 should have to go through that. Health care is a human right.”


For immediate release:  August 21, 2018
Contact: Olympia Feil ([email protected])