Abortion Is Under Threat After Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation. Donors Are Stepping Up.

Abortion Is Under Threat After Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation. Donors Are Stepping Up.

  • October 28, 2020
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While the Senate wrapped up the final vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday evening, pro-choice groups started seeing an influx in donations ― a welcomed gesture as abortion rights advocates ready themselves for the fight of a lifetime

NARAL Pro-Choice America saw a 200% increase in funding after Monday night’s Senate vote, according to a spokesperson. The National Network of Abortion Funds raised over $25,000 in the first 24 hours of Barrett’s confirmation, which a NNAF spokesperson said is a big uptick in donations for their organization. And the Yellowhammer Fund, a group advocating for reproductive justice in the South, saw an influx in fundraising logging around $17,000 before the organization even sent out a statement on Barrett’s confirmation. 

“Amy Barrett’s extreme position on our fundamental rights is disqualifying. We know that they cannot be shamed, so we will see every single Republican who has played a role in this charade at the ballot box,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement following Monday’s vote. 

The night Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died back in September, abortion rights advocates knew they would need to fight tooth and nail for a justice who supported reproductive and sexual health. That hope died, however, with Barrett’s nomination and subsequent confirmation. And reproductive justice organizations know these donation dollars will have a big impact on the fight for continued safe and legal access to abortion.

Yellowhammer Fund’s communications director Robin Marty said donations received will go directly to financially supporting abortion access in the Deep South. The $17,000 Yellowhammer Fund received after Barrett’s confirmation will help 40 to 60 patients seeking abortion care pay for costs such as gas, hotels and child care.

Still, Marty cautioned how little impact this donation would have if Roe is repealed. “This is while abortion is still legally accessible in Alabama and the surrounding states,” she said. “When Roe is overturned, when each of those patients will instead have to travel to Florida, Virginia or even Illinois, well, $17,000 won’t even last a week. That’s the reality we are preparing for now.”

The National Network of Abortion Funds’ fundraising will help pay for financial barriers to abortion access for the 70 organizations included under the national organization’s umbrella. Donations will help pay for abortions as well as transportation, child care, hotel and translation services. 

Barrett’s confirmation to the court cements a 6-3 conservative majority, leaving many reproductive rights advocates worried about the fate of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that protects the right to abortion. Currently there are 17 abortion cases one step away from heading to the Supreme Court, according to Planned Parenthood. The last two decisions on the issue were decided by one vote while Ginsburg, whom Barrett replaced, was still alive. 

Even though Barrett did not reveal during her confirmation hearings how she would rule on a case involving Roe, her past judicial rulings, ties to conservative Christian communities and identifying as an originalist (a judge who interprets the Constitution as it was written at the time) make it clear how she feels about abortion. President Donald Trump’s rushed nomination of Barrett after his repeated promises to gut the Affordable Care Act, which covers reproductive health services for millions, has many Democrats worried about how the judge will vote on cases about the ACA.

The senators who supported Trump and rushed through a nominee who is expected to vote to eliminate access to health care for tens of millions and further restrict reproductive rights, days before an election, should prepare to lose their jobs. In just eight days, voters will hold them accountable.
Jenny Lawson, Planned Parenthood Votes executive director

Groups that support abortion rights plan to use the rushed process and confirmation of Barrett to motivate voters. Planned Parenthood Votes, the organization’s political arm, did not release its fundraising numbers, but executive director Jenny Lawson said the group is focused on getting the Republican senators who pushed Barrett’s nomination through out of office. 

“The senators who supported Trump and rushed through a nominee who is expected to vote to eliminate access to health care for tens of millions and further restrict reproductive rights, days before an election, should prepare to lose their jobs,” Lawson told HuffPost. “In just eight days, voters will hold them accountable. Planned Parenthood Votes will help ensure this is the last Supreme Court confirmation vote they take.” 

The majority of Americans support reproductive freedom, with 75% of people saying they support keeping Roe in place according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll (although a majority would like to see more restrictions on the medical procedure). Support for Barrett’s confirmation slipped eight points during her hearing because some registered voters believed that if confirmed she would overturn Roe, a Yahoo News/YouGov poll found

National Organization for Women was unable to share their fundraising numbers with HuffPost, but president Christian F. Nunes said the women’s group is ready to respond to Barrett’s confirmation at the polls. 

“We have had a positive response in fundraising with our PAC and Action campaigns regarding the SCOTUS nomination and appointment,” Nunes said. “Members are fired up and ready to see change take place to prevent the past four years from reoccurring, or worse.”

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Oct. 14.



Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Oct. 14.

Breaking from tradition, Senate Republicans openly discussed Barrett’s anti-abortion views. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) declared he would only vote in support of a nominee who has a written record proving they believe Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, later adding that Barrett met this litmus test. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, even applauded Barrett for being “unashamedly pro-life” during the confirmation hearing. “This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology, and she is going to the court,” he said.

Two documents surfaced before Barrett’s hearings which confirmed her personal opinion on reproductive rights. In 2006, Barrett signed her name to a newspaper ad created by an anti-abortion group which argued that “it’s time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade and restore laws that protect the lives of unborn children.” In 2013, while she was a part of Notre Dame University’s Faculty for Life group, she signed her name in support of another anti-abortion ad to “renew our call for the unborn to be protected in law and welcomed in life.” 

Barrett was also formerly a part of The Federalist Society, a national organization of conservative lawyers. The organization maintains that it takes no official policy positions but has a long track record of supporting judges with anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights and anti-voting rights records. The Federalist Society also vetted Barrett and supported her nomination to the Supreme Court. 

Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice, a national group of Catholics who support safe and legal abortion, said with Barrett’s confirmation the court’s conservative majority no longer represents all Americans, including Catholic Americans.

“Catholics in the United States represent a vast range of experiences, backgrounds and upbringings. But across our differences, the majority of Catholics are united in their support for access to safe, legal abortion, as well as the right to make moral decisions about abortion in keeping with our own conscience,” Manson said. “We also believe that there should be true religious freedom, predicated on the separation of church and state, something the bishops and jurists like Judge Coney Barrett have sought to eliminate.”

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