For 43 years, the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, along with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, has allowed at least 58 million unborn babies to be aborted for any reason, at any time during pregnancy.
But if Donald Trump keeps his promises in the White House and nominates pro-life justices to the high court, Americans could see increased protections for unborn babies and possibly even a reversal of Roe and Doe.
Trump promised to appoint the kinds of judges to the Supreme Court that would please pro-life voters. He released two separate lists of potential Supreme Court nominees, both of which went over well with pro-life voters and organizations. Leading pro-life groups will undoubtedly hold Trump’s feet to the fire as he will take office with the ability to already appoint one member of the Supreme Court following the death of pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia.
“We are going to appoint great Supreme Court justices… These will be justices of great intellect… And they will be pro-life,” Trump told pro-life leaders in June.
Writing for Cosmopolitan, abortion advocate Robin Marty warned that Trump’s pro-life promises could have a “devastating” impact on abortion access.
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… when Trump is sworn into office this January, he will be able to appoint someone from his short list of judges “very much in the mold of Scalia.” That new judge will once again make moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy — who is an inconsistent supporter of abortion rights at best — the swing vote on the court. Meanwhile there will be a number of laws geared toward testing his complicated feelings around the “life of the unborn” working their way up the docket.
One could be the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which Trump said he would sign into law. The legislation would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when scientific evidence indicates that unborn babies feel pain. The bill has more hope of passing after Trump won the White House and Republicans maintained control of the U.S. House and Senate on Tuesday.
Marty said the legislation, especially if coupled with action to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, could make it much more difficult for women to get abortions.
“The two ‘pro-life’ policies could create a perfect storm for later abortions or unwanted full-term births, as well as clandestine, self-induced abortions,” she wrote.
Later, she added:
But if Trump has the opportunity to appoint even more Supreme Court justices, that would shift the court even further right, and he has pledged to only appoint justices who would overturn Roe, which would allow states to make abortion completely illegal again. Currently, there are three justices are age 78 or older, and they all are considered liberal-leaning judges.
When the Tea Party rode a conservative wave into office in 2010, states passed hundreds of bills restricting access to abortion and birth control. While the Republican-led House tried to do the same on a federal level, having a Democrat in the White House blocked most of that agenda, keeping it constrained primarily to red states.
With President Trump, a Republican Congress, and at least 33 Republican governors working together, there may not be anyone who can stop them, and no state that will not be affected.
The news is encouraging, but pro-lifers’ work to protect unborn babies and moms from the pain of abortion is far from over.
Even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion would not become illegal immediately across the U.S. If Roe is overturned, states would be allowed to enact their own laws regarding abortion, meaning some states probably would still allow abortions while others would enact laws to protect the right to life for unborn babies.
At the same time, pro-lifers must work to offer better resources and encouragement to pregnant and parenting moms and their babies, so they never have to feel like aborting their unborn child is their best or only option.