The Atlantic

Democrats Are Coming After Kavanaugh on Abortion

The Supreme Court hearings are a preview of the party’s midterm strategy, with lawmakers placing the issue front and center. But it’s far from clear that their apocalyptic rhetoric will actually work.
Source: Andrew Harnik / AP

As the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh got underway on Tuesday, a group of pro-choice activists held a “vigil” for abortion rights outside. A handful of protesters dressed up in the red robes and white bonnets described in The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel about a future America in which the government forces women to have sex and bear children against their will. They did this with the apparent blessing and backing of Democratic senators, who have echoed their language of alarm: Kirsten Gillibrand joined a call with reporters hosted by Planned Parenthood in the morning, promising that “if this extreme judge is confirmed by the Senate, the Supreme Court would take away and criminalize women’s reproductive freedom.”

Democrats seem to have made a political bet: that they should make Kavanaugh’s nomination about, only a fraction said Kavanaugh or was at the top of their list. “It’s clear from young people that they don’t want overturned,” said Cathy Cohen, the political-science professor who leads the project. But “it is not clear from the data that , as an issue, will motivate young people to go to the polls, or [that] they see it as the most important issue defining how they will vote.”

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