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‘Pro-life’ groups stand by Kavanaugh after sexual assault allegation

One group, Operation Rescue, is even defaming his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Pro-life activists demonstrate in front of pro-life activists as they intermix during a demonstration in front of the US Supreme Court during the March For Life in Washington, DC, January 27, 2017.
(Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-life activists demonstrate in front of pro-life activists as they intermix during a demonstration in front of the US Supreme Court during the March For Life in Washington, DC, January 27, 2017. (Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Anti-abortion groups were ecstatic when President Trump first nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, citing his “strong record of protecting life.” Now, many of those same groups are refusing to condemn him after California professor Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her.

Groups like Susan B. Anthony List — who wield heavy political influence on Capitol Hill — invested a lot of money to get Kavanaugh confirmed and even flew activists to red-state Democratic senators’ offices to rally for him. The recent allegations against Kavanaugh have done little to nothing to sway their support.

“We have no reason to change our support for Judge Kavanaugh,” SBA List’s Mallory Quigley said in a statement to Politico. “Obviously Ms. [Blasey]’s allegations are serious and should be heard. Judge Kavanaugh should also have an opportunity to respond.”

Americans United For Life said in its daily Kavanaugh column that “Justice Kavanaugh should be confirmed” barring any new information or evidence. And March for Life, which dedicated a lot of its homepage content to Kavanaugh, has yet to comment publicly. (ThinkProgress reached out for comment but did not immediately hear back.)

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Operation Rescue, by contrast, is actively circulating conspiracy theories about Blasey, attempting to discredit her by tying her (through her brother) to Fusion GPS — the company that produced the unverified Trump–Russia dossier.

“Are the [Blasey] allegations just another page from the Democrat play-book to smear and defame those who pose a threat to abortion, their sacred cow? Are the attacks an attempt to drive Kavanaugh from power and thereby protect the unfettered right to abortion?” wrote Cheryl Sullenger, senior vice president for Operation Rescue, in a column published Tuesday.

“We call for a full investigation of those involved in putting forth Blasey’s allegations, including her attorney Deborah Katz and Sen. Diane Feinstein. We also call for an investigation into her brother to determine whether he was also involved, especially with Fusion GPS,” she added.

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The self-proclaimed “pro-life” movement has repeatedly been forced to confront its support for men accused of sexual misconduct over the past few years, as it attempts to carry out its goal of implementing anti-abortion policy nationwide. For the most part, many have chosen to ignore those accusations in favor of pushing their agenda forward.

Anti-abortion groups continue to praise Trump, for example, even after at least 19 women accused him of sexual misconduct. As SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser puts it, Trump is supposedly “the most pro-life president in our nation’s history.”

The ends — overturning Roe v. Wade — appear to justify the means, groups like SBA List demonstrate in practice.

Meanwhile, support for Roe has never been higher: according to an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released in July, “71 percent of Americans believe that Roe should not be overturned, while only 23 percent want the ruling reversed.”

By contrast, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week showed Kavanaugh with historically low levels of support. According to the survey, only 31 percent of U.S. adults want him confirmed to the Supreme Court.