When West Virginia writer and activist Crystal Good needed compassion and trust from her government after finding out she was pregnant at 16 years old, “all I got was another barrier,” she told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Good, of Charleston, was one of several people who testified during the fourth day of hearings for the nomination of U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Good testified as a guest of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to the court to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Good described herself as a “sixth-generation West Virginian, a writer-poet, a small-business owner, a graduate student at West Virginia University and an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse,” as well as a mother to three “brilliant” children and the daughter of a white mother and black father.
“These identities are parts of me, but not all of me,” she told the committee.
Good told the committee how she was abused by her white stepfather from the time she was 5 years old until she was 15, and how no one in her family initially believed her. She said the adults in her life then failed to hold him accountable once the truth was known.
She told the committee he eventually was convicted for his crimes in 2012.
She said that, when she was 16 and in a safe and joyful relationship, she found out she was pregnant, and began to explore her options in West Virginia, which required parental consent for a minor to receive an abortion.
By then, Good said, she couldn’t trust any of the adults in her life.
“For many reasons, including the decade of abuse she did not protect me from, I could not tell my mother,” Good said. “Instead, I sought a judicial bypass.”
She said she had to coordinate around her school day to see the judge, whom she told about her academic achievements and her now-realized goal of going to college and becoming a writer.
He granted her the ability to have an abortion without her parents’ consent.
“It felt like a miracle,” Good said. “An adult believed me. An authority figure deemed me to be in charge of my own body and my own future.”
Good told the committee she realizes the work the Supreme Court has done in the past to uphold certain rights and freedoms, including a right to an abortion, integrating public schools, upholding the Affordable Care Act and providing workplace protection for her transgender daughter.
But with Barrett’s nomination, Good told senators, she is losing faith in the court.
“President Trump has been clear that he would only appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade,” Good said of the Supreme Court ruling protecting a woman’s right to an abortion. “Unfortunately, through learning about Judge Barrett’s record, I understand why the president believes she passes the test.
“Please listen to people who have had abortions,” Good said. “Hear us when we ask you, please do not confirm this nominee. Our futures, our families, our lives depend on it. We, too, are Americans.”