Ibis responds to the Senate’s confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court

October 2018

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Today, Kelly Blanchard, President, released the statement below in response to the Senate’s confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Like many others across the country, I watched Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings with great concern about his approach to the law. But the truly gut-wrenching part of the hearings was the message they sent about how women and people who survive sexual assault are treated in this country. Many of the brave survivors who came forward did not have a chance to tell their stories to the Judiciary Committee at all. Dr. Blasey Ford spoke clearly and eloquently but her claims did not receive a fair hearing or investigation. Throughout this process, women’s voices were met with vitriol. Not only did Justice Kavanaugh respond to the charges with entitlement and anger, he lashed out at a woman Senator on the committee with shocking disrespect. The white male privilege displayed by Justice Kavanaugh and the members of the Judiciary Committee should perhaps not surprise us, but serves as a painful reminder of the endurance of systems of oppression that must be dismantled.       

“At Ibis, we are committed to working toward a society where survivors are believed and supported, and where all people are treated with dignity and respect regardless of gender identity, race, income, immigration status, sexual orientation, or ability. Everyone has the right to bodily autonomy and freedom from sexual assault and violence. In a country where one in six women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, high-quality information and services are critical to protecting these rights. Access to abortion care and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services are key to ensuring people’s autonomy, along with more comprehensive efforts to change the power and culture that allow sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination to continue.

“We deserve a Justice that places women’s well-being over personal privilege and partisan politics. We deserve a Justice who will respect the precedent set by decades of Supreme Court rulings which have established that the US Constitution protects every woman’s right to choose. Most recently, the Court’s 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt reaffirmed that medically unnecessary and burdensome regulations to abortion access are unconstitutional and cause harm. Critically, the Court relied on rigorous research evidence to reach its conclusion, showcasing the importance of clinical and social science research in reproductive health policy–and underscoring the need for future laws to live up to this decision.

“The recent confirmation hearings cast a shadow over Justice Kavanaugh’s ability to be that kind of respectful, apolitical jurist. Throughout his time on the Court, the Justice will undoubtedly be called on to make decisions that impact women’s health and autonomy. We hope that he–and his fellow Justices–follow the precedent of Whole Woman’s Health and rely on an extensive body of scientific evidence on what works best for women in the United States when deciding cases that affect reproductive health. For many, the barriers to access for birth control and abortion services are already insurmountable. 

“While we are concerned about what this appointment means for our rights and for our health, we also celebrate the courageous advocates and individuals who stood up to fight injustice during this process. We stand with you, and will continue to work with our partners to collaborate with communities of people most affected to raise up their voices, and provide rigorous evidence to inform public debate and culture change efforts.