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Broward Congresswoman, Planned Parenthood Condemn Brett Kavanaugh As Confirmation Hearings Begin

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Caitie Switalski
Kheyanna Suarez, right, works with Planned Parenthood in Broward County. She joined Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, left, Tuesday morning to speak out against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

With a Republican majority in the United States Senate, the confirmation of conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court may seem inevitable. 

But not to one U.S. Representative from South Florida: Debbie Wasserman Schultz. 

"It is not a foregone conclusion that he will be confirmed," Wasserman Schultz said Tuesday morning. "It would just take a couple of Republicans to side with Democrats if they stay united, to oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Raising awareness about how dangerous Judge Kavanaugh's views are … we have to shine a light on what his previous decisions have shown."

The Democratic congresswoman held a press conference at her district office in Sunrise shortly after the hearings began Tuesday morning, in protest of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. She cited his past rulings and statements about the Affordable Care Act and the legal case Roe Vs. Wade, which legalizes abortion. 

"Reproductive justice means that every woman should be able to choose what is best for herself and her body, unfortunately, these rights continue to be threatened by the Trump-Pence administration, by the entire Republican party…the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court is simply the most recent, most dangerous threat."

Kavanaugh has recently stated that he believes Roe Vs. Wade is "settled law."

Brett Kavanaugh
Credit Caitie Switalski via confirmation hearing livestream / WLRN
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, during the first morning of his confirmation hearings Tuesday.

Kheyanna Suarez, a Broward County regional organizer for Planned Parenthood, joined Wasserman Schultz, along with Carolyn Newman - a breast cancer survivor from Plantation. 

Suarez urged senators not to confirm Kavanaugh, as he would flip the court to have a majority of more conservative justices:

"Kavanaugh will turn the balance of the Supreme Court against women’s constitutional rights, including abortion. Therefore, the Senate must reject the judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court for the sake of women’s rights, for the sake of healthcare and for the sake of everyone’s rights everywhere," Suarez said.

Read More: Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings To Focus On 6 Hot-Button Issues

Newman is concerned about Kavanaugh’s stance against the Affordable Care Act. She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2006, before her 43rd birthday.

"Like most breast cancer survivors, we live with fear… fear our cancer will return," she said. "When the Affordable Care Act became law, we were so grateful to be able to get health insurance, and that my my pre-existing condition … would not be a factor. We don’t have to think about tomorrow, or do we?"

If the universal health insurance coverage were to be abolished, Newman would be considered to have a pre-existing condition as a cancer survivor.  

"It seems that if the mandate about pre-existing condition goes away, we would be living with the fear of having to even try to find insurance," Newman said. 

Schultz argues that not enough documents have been released by the Trump administration about Kavanaugh’s past work with Former President George Bush’s Bush administration, to have a fully-transparent hearing.

"The don’t want senators to know, and they don’t want to public to know what Judge Kavanaugh did when he worked for President Bush, and what advice, guidance, writings, he provided to that administration," she said.

Every town For Gun Safety, the political action group behind the March For Our Lives Events after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, also stands against Kavanaugh.

The group has circulated an email 'Supreme Court Nomination Alert' message, in opposition of Kavanaugh's comments supporting gun rights. The alert provides a link to email Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio - with a message to vote down Kavanaugh's confirmation to the court. 

To become confirmed after the hearings conclude this week, Kavanaugh needs a simple majority of senators to vote for him. At 53, he is poised to become President Trump’s second appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court, behind Neil Gorsuch last year. 

You can watch the hearings live on WLRN, here.