'I Came to Put My Body On the Line': Both Inside and Outside Hearing, Women Lead Fight Against Kavanaugh Confirmation

Women dressed as handmaids from the TV series and Margaret Atwood novel "The Handmaid's Tale" greeted Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing to be named the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty)

'I Came to Put My Body On the Line': Both Inside and Outside Hearing, Women Lead Fight Against Kavanaugh Confirmation

"Many citizens before me have fought for the equal rights of women. I can't be silent when someone is nominated to the Supreme Court who would take our equal rights away."

As the Senate Judiciary Committee proceeded with its confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday--whose appointment Planned Parenthood has said "would determine the health and freedom of countless women's lives"-- it was women both inside and outside the hearing who led the charge against Kavanaugh's ascension to the highest court in the land.

NARAL Pro-Choice America shared that its Missouri and Washington chapters' executive directors, Alison Dreith and Tiffany Hankins, were among the more than 30 protesters who were arrested for demonstrating inside the hearing room.

Bystanders and media outlets shared videos of the women being led away from the hearing in makeshift handcuffs.

Several women, including Women's March leader Linda Sarsour and actress and activist Piper Perabo, were filmed being physically dragged out of the room by Capitol Police, yelling, "Adjourn the hearing!" and "Please vote no!"

"I don't want my daughters to have less rights than I do in 2018, so I came to put my body on the line," Sarsour toldRewire News after her arrest.

Before being taken away from the hearing room, Shaunna Thomas, executive director of the women's advocacy group UltraViolet, told the committee, "Senators, on behalf of the millions of women across the country whose rights will be stripped by a Kavanaugh court, I demand you reject this nomination."

Kavanaugh is widely seen as the key to completing Trump's campaign pledge to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision which affirmed that American women have the right to abortion care. While running for president in 2016, Trump told Fox News that if he won, the reversal of the decision would "happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court."

Last year, Kavanaugh praised former Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist's dissent in the Roe case and as a sitting federal judge ruled against a young immigrant held in U.S. custody who wanted to obtain an abortion, delaying her care.

As the hearing began, a week-long ad campaign sponsored by UltraViolet got underway throughout the nation's capitol, with signs proclaiming, "Roe v. Wade is more popular than Brett Kavanaugh."

Recent polls show 71 percent of Americans believe Roe vs. Wade should not be overturned, while only 37 percent support Kavanaugh's confirmation--making him an historically unpopular nominee.

Outside the hearing room at the Hart Senate Office Building, hundreds of women representing the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other national groups wore shirts reading "I am what's at stake" linked arms to express solidarity against Kavanaugh's nomination.

Also outside the hearing room, several women assembled to greet Kavanaugh, dressed as the handmaids from the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale."

Despite their own party's successful delay of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated by President Barack Obama, Republicans scoffed at Democrats' and protesters' objections to the hearing, with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) employing predictably misogynist language to chastise the demonstrators' for their so-called "hysteria."

Sasse's dismissal did not succeed in sidelining the protesters, however. As the hearing continued, a photo of woman-led grassroots group Code Pink's national director, Ariel Elyse Gold, prominently displaying her protest sign before her arrest was at the top of the New York Times' website--making clear that the demonstrations had made a national impact.

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