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.
I'm doing this for my daughters, for all of our daughters, for all of us. Since day 1 of this administration my sisters and I have been resisting. Who's with me and ready to disobey? #CancelKavanaugh #BrettBye @womensmarch @shaunking @lsarsour @TamikaDMallory @msladyjustice1 pic.twitter.com/pohosgeNkH
— Bob Bland (@bobblanddesign) September 4, 2018
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.
.@ProChoiceWA Executive Director @tiffanykins has now also been arrested for exercising her right to free speech & fighting to #StopKavanaugh. We stand with the men and women putting their bodies on the line for our right to choose when, if, and how to start or grow our families! https://t.co/u2uUgg6sFn
— NARAL (@NARAL) September 4, 2018
.@NARALMissouri Executive Director @alidreith was arrested today while exercising her right to free speech to #StopKavanaugh. We proudly stand with her, and we will NOT back down! https://t.co/Z32fQjo8tg
— NARAL (@NARAL) September 4, 2018
Bystanders and media outlets shared videos of the women being led away from the hearing in makeshift handcuffs.
Protesters being taken out of the Kavanaugh hearing in makeshift cuffs pic.twitter.com/GJlTOpbJ6N
— Alexandra Limon (@AlexLimonNews) September 4, 2018
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 was just arrested for civil disobedience in the Kavanaugh hearings.
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.#StopKavanaghpic.twitter.com/f3SG7gmVam
— Piper Perabo (@PiperPerabo) September 4, 2018
"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 told Rewire 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.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) September 3, 2018
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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."
— José S. Woss (@JoseWoss) September 4, 2018
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.
Hundreds of women lined the Hart Senate Atrium to hold a vigil for #WhatsAtStake. Together, we will #StopKavanaugh @PPact @NARAL @ReproRights @nwlc @APALAnational @TheTaskForce @TransEquality pic.twitter.com/BZ9A3Y64G3
— NAPAWF (@NAPAWF) September 4, 2018
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."
— Lydia Wheeler (@WheelerLydia) September 4, 2018
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."
Sasses says it's a 30 year tradition to have "screaming protests saying women are going to die...Where is the hysteria coming from?" (He says hysteria three times.)
— Irin Carmon (@irin) September 4, 2018
At least 8% of maternal deaths worldwide are from unsafe abortion and more than 22,000 women die each year from complications of unsafe abortion. The "hysteria" that Ben Sasse notes (a term rife with sexism) is women literally begging their government NOT TO KILL THEM. https://t.co/i6tTWyWuS0
— Lauren Rankin (@laurenarankin) September 4, 2018
women who live in states without affordable access do die though. MORE will die if we don't #StopKavanaugh
Saying hysteria isn't an accident it's to make it seem like women WHO WILL BE THE ONES DYING are overreacting.
We aren't. https://t.co/ihJYOYLAbo
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) September 4, 2018
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.