During opening statements at the start of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) repeatedly dismissed concerns that Kavanaugh will play a key role in restricting women’s reproductive rights as mere “hysteria.”
Referring to a string of protesters who were thrown out of the hearing while yelling things like, “stop the oppression of women!“, Sasse said, “People are going to pretend that Americans have no historical memory, and supposedly there haven’t been screaming protesters saying ‘women are going to die’ at every hearing for decades. This has been happening.”
“This is a 31-year tradition. There’s nothing really new the last 18 months,” Sasse continued. “So the hysteria has nothing to do with you.”
Sasse, who used the term “hysteria” in reference to protesters three times, also dismissed concerns that Kavanaugh’s record of being opposed to firearm and environmental regulations will negatively impact people.
“Since your nomination in July, you’ve been accused of hating women, hating children, hating clean air, wanting dirty water, you’ve been declared a quote/unquote ‘existential threat to our nation,'” Sasse said. “This drivel is patently absurd. I worry we’re going to hear more of it over the next few days.”
“The good news is, it is absurd, and the American people don’t believe any of it,” Sasse added, ignoring polling showing that Kavanaugh had a historically low level of support heading into his hearing.
As ThinkProgress detailed, it’s likely that Kavanaugh could provide a decisive vote chipping away at reproductive rights.
We know that Kavanaugh will almost certainly kill Roe v. Wade. There are currently four votes on the Supreme Court who consistently vote against abortion rights. Kavanuagh gave a speech in 2017 criticizing Roe and praising the dissent. And he sided with the Trump administration, at least temporarily, when the administration literally held women prisoner to prevent them from having an abortion.
Kavanaugh’s record also suggests he would give the Trump administration a free hand to curtail the Affordable Care Act independently of Congress, and would be resistant to any congressional efforts to further regulate firearms.
Despite what Sasse would have you believe, those positions have consequences — the greater availability of firearms correlates with more shooting deaths, and less access to health care correlates with higher mortality rates.