Confirming Amy Coney Barrett Will End Abortion Care as We Know It | Opinion

The genius of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is that she is wholesome, motherly and quietly productive—the keystone characteristics of old-world femininity and class. Make no mistake, however, Barrett is poised to bury reproductive rights and, more broadly, women's health as we know it.

As an OB-GYN with specialized training in abortion care, I have treated many patients with heartbreaking stories about how, when the unspeakable happened in their very wanted pregnancies, the political system denied them access to safe and reliable care.

One such story was of a young woman who, at 20 weeks pregnant, found out that her baby was missing both his kidneys and would either not live to take his first breath or would survive until birth but then struggle to breathe before dying in his mother's arms. The latter option was too cruel for her to imagine. She called her insurance company, which denied the procedure because even though abortion was covered in her state, her company had contracted with an out-of-state insurance firm in Utah, where abortion at her gestation age was illegal unless to save her life. Three days later, she had her procedure in the operating room, charging over $30,000 in uncovered medical bills to her various credit cards.

Tragedy and the resulting massive debt are a common theme I have encountered over the years with my patients, but we don't need to focus on extremes to prove abortion care is essential. About one in five U.S. pregnancies, excluding miscarriages, ends in abortion. Hundreds of thousands of Americans seek abortions every year—each for their own complex reasons. This means that, statistically speaking, Barrett knows many people who have needed this care at some point in their lives. No matter.

In Barrett's confirmation hearings this week, she refused to say how she views Roe v. Wade. Yet the judge's stance on abortion is hardly a mystery. In 2006, she signed a "right to life" newspaper ad that called for putting "and end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade." She was also a member of Notre Dame's "Faculty for Life" group, and her name is on a 2015 letter to Roman Catholic bishops noting the "value of human life from conception to natural death." Barrett's impending confirmation to the Supreme Court is an assault on reproductive freedom, economic freedom and a society that values gender equality.

Ask any OB-GYN right now, and they'll tell you: We're already doomed in this regard. Roe is on its way out, abortion law will return to the states, and many of them will ban it outright. Only 13 states and the District of Columbia have laws that protect the right to abortion.

It feels like we're on the Titanic, and it's going down. The wealthy have locked half the ship down in steerage, where they're blind to what's happening. All I can do is fight like hell to make sure everyone knows that President Donald Trump got off on the first boat launched, and he took Barrett with him.

Jenn Conti, M.D., is an internationally recognized health expert, medical journalist and OB-GYN physician. She is also co-author of The Vagina Book: An Owner's Manual for Taking Care of Your Down There and co-host of The V Word podcast.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.