As Senate Judiciary committee prepares to approve Barrett, advocates call on Tillis and Burr to reconsider

Breast cancer survivor Kimberly Dickens speaks outside the state Capitol Building yesterday.

It appears that U.S. Senate Republicans will take yet another step in the supremely hypocritical and morally illegitimate process of installing Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court today. Judiciary Committee Republicans will rubber stamp the nomination this morning, while Democratic members boycott to express their outrage at the preposterously rushed process.

As reported in this space yesterday, opponents of the nomination have another important reason to oppose the nomination: the revelation that Barrett served for years on the board of private school chain that overtly discriminated against children whose parents were LGBTQ or who were gay themselves.

And there are many other critically important reasons to oppose the nomination. A group of Triangle-area advocates for women’s health and reproductive freedom gathered outside of the state Capitol Building yesterday to highlight some of them. Led by NARAL Pro-Choice NC executive director Tara Romano, who termed the nomination “an undemocratic farce” and “a blatant power grab,” the speakers (all of them women) demanded that North Carolina senators Thom Tillis (who serves on the Judiciary Committee) and Richard Burr reconsider their support for Barrett and commit to oppose the consideration of any nominee until after next January’s Inauguration Day.

Other speakers included:

  • Kimberly Dickens of Edgecombe County — a breast cancer survivor, who explained in detail how the Affordable Care Act (a law for which Barrett has expressed contempt) quite literally saved her life;
  • Susanna Birdsong of Planned Parenthood, who lamented the fact that a Justice Barrett could, along with other far right justices, put a host of vital reproductive rights in jeopardy, including, of course, a woman’s right to obtain an abortion;
  • Gloria De Los Santos of Action NC who detailed the deep and destructive racial disparities that already afflict our flawed health care system and that would only grow far worse if the Affordable Care Act is struck down; and
  • Kelsea McClain, an advocate for abortion rights who explained how she had previously obtained two abortions at critical times in her life and how, despite being an abortion rights advocate, she was forced to endure what amounted to an anti-abortion lecture and a 72 hour waiting period under a law enacted a few years back by North Carolina’s anti-choice legislature.

All in all, it was a powerful demonstration by a group of powerful women and it will be a tragedy if it goes unheeded by Tillis and Burr.

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