On Tuesday night, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit of Colorado to take the late Justice Antonin Scalia's spot on the Supreme Court. He is an interesting pick, but just how Neil Gorsuch's confirmation could affect pregnant women will likely be an issue going forward. It's complicated, because Gorsuch is definitely "pro-life," which means that he has ruled, throughout his career, against a woman's right to choose what she does with her body. He's also not a great advocate of the Affordable Care Act. So either way, if you're pregnant and want to terminate your pregnancy or a mother who wants pre-natal care paid for by insurance, Gorsuch is not your friend.
(And he says he's pro-life. Go figure.)
Gorsuch was introduced by Trump as a moderate who would deserve bipartisan respect when it came to his confirmation hearing. But Gorsuch is a protegé of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is a fervent opponent of reproductive rights, whether it's access to birth control, abortion, or social services once they become mothers and need assistance for their children.
Gorsuch's nomination, and possible confirmation, would be a strong sign to Justice Kennedy that he could retire and leave his seat to a sympathizer who would carry on voting against a person's right to choose and a person's right to affordable healthcare.
As if that wasn't enough, Gorsuch backed Hobby Lobby way back in 2014, even though the Supreme Court backed the Affordable Care Act and the challengers. That means Gorsuch isn't about your employer paying for your birth control or anything having to do with your uterus going forward.
While defending Hobby Lobby, Gorsuch got literary, quoting both David Foster Wallace and Charles Dickens, all at the same time (without reference by the way):
Like any human enterprise, the law's crooked timber occasionally produces the opposite of the intended effect. We turn to the law earnestly to promote a worthy idea and wind up with a host of unwelcome side effects that do more harm than good. ... We depend upon the rule of law to guarantee freedom, but we have to give up freedom to live under the law's rules.
Gorsuch could vote his own mind, if he were ever confirmed. Just because he voted against women before or is a protegé of Kennedy doesn't mean he'll vote that way in the future. Maybe he would turn against his mentor, Quantico-style. Maybe.
Every woman should hope that Congress gives Gorsuch a thorough hearing and grills him about how he will vote when it comes to healthcare and reproductive rights. Because he definitely has a stance on the issues and the incoming administration is going to bring Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act before courts. Trump's choice, if confirmed, will be the tie-breaker on a lot big issues.