Back in July, when Kavanaugh was nominated by President
Abortion-rights groups have been campaigning vigorously against Kavanaugh since July; their efforts have intensified since the assault allegation surfaced.
"It was already clear that, if confirmed,
If confirmed, Kavanaugh would replace retired Justice
Were Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination — or lose a confirmation vote — Trump could swiftly nominate another conservative candidate, such as federal judge
However, anti-abortion activists don't want to lose the fight for Kavanaugh, in part because they'd like a conservative filling the vacant seat as the
To avoid what she called "a slippery slope,"
Abortion-rights groups pressing for Kavanaugh to be rejected say they're not deterred by the possibility that Trump would then nominate someone like Coney Barrett.
"The vast majority of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned," said
"Women are mobilized as never before," she said. "It all adds up to a formidable force that
Complicating any short-term predictions is the midterm election on
At stake in all of this drama is the fate of state laws seeking to ban abortion or restrict access to it. A repeal of Roe v. Wade would not ban abortion nationwide, but it would allow individual states to enact bans or other tough restrictions.
Abortion-rights activists say a reconfigured
"Without overturning Roe directly, the court could make abortion as good as illegal for millions of women," said
She and her allies are tracking 13 pending cases in the federal courts concerning anti-abortion state laws. Among them are measures that ban specific abortion procedures, require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and require abortion clinics to have expensive hospital-grade facilities in order to be licensed.
If a justice such as Kavanaugh or Coney Barrett were confirmed, Dalven predicted a new batch of state laws would be enacted, with more sweeping restrictions.
"I think there will be states racing to try to become the first to ban abortion," she said.