Feminism

Donald Trump’s Plan to Overturn Roe v. Wade

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Sorta transcript:
It’s hard to overstate just how terrifying the world may be about to become under President Trump. He’s threatened to deport immigrants, ban people from the country based upon their religious beliefs, crack down on freedom of the press, and so much more. One topic that’s close to my heart and that I’ve spoken on often on this channel is reproductive rights, and Trump has made some very serious pronouncements on what he plans about that. Notably, that he doesn’t believe in them.
Trump recently confirmed to 60 Minutes what he has said previously during the debates: that he would be choosing anti-abortion supreme court judges to overturn Roe v Wade. He told 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl that it would become a state issue and that women who wanted abortions might have to travel to other states to get them.
Of course, that’s already what happens now thanks to the past decade of Christian conservatives fighting to restrict access to abortion in any way possible. The full-on overturning of Roe v. Wade has long been their goal, and they are getting closer. With the Republicans having successfully blocked Obama from appointing a Supreme Court judge thus far, Trump will most likely have the opportunity to make the bench more conservative by at least one. Maybe more, depending on who on the current bench is closest to death and/or just getting sick of all this shit.
But does that mean an “automatic” reversal of Roe v. Wade, as Trump said during the third debate? Well, let’s remember that our future President of the United States of America has absolutely no idea how a bill becomes a law, or what that first amendment thing is all about. So he probably heard “Roe v. Wade,” figured it was a Supreme Court Thing, and figured the Supreme Court was his now so it would be gone.
Luckily it doesn’t work that way, though appointing an anti-choice conservative Christian to the bench could fuck things up for those of us who are interested in women’s rights and whatnot. It would give anti-choicers a 5-4 majority, which means that if a case were to challenge Roe v Wade, there’s a plausible chance it would succeed.
But there is no case currently in the pipeline for that. In order for the Supreme Court to make a ruling on Roe v. Wade, someone would have to bring a case in front of them. And for that to happen, the case would need to start in the lower courts and work its way up, a process that could take years.
So in the meanwhile, Christian Conservatives will probably be pushing for those cases to get there. And they’ll do that by continuing to try to pass laws that unconstitutionally limit women’s access to abortion, like fetal pain laws (which I’ve previously explained have no scientific basis) or those ridiculous laws forcing abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges (which has no logical basis), and laws requiring doctors to lie to patients by telling them abortions can be reversed or that abortions increase their chance of breast cancer or depression. If the Republican majority manages to pass something like that, they win in a number of ways: they effectively ban abortion, and they force reproductive justice advocates to bring lawsuits to challenge them — lawsuits that may make their way to the Supreme Court.
And in the meanwhile, more women will continue to die. Because as I’ve pointed out over and over again, research shows that when you restrict access to safe abortions, women don’t stop having abortions. The same number of fetuses die, but now more women die in back alleys. And let’s be honest: that’s not something that Donald Trump seems to care much about.
Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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14 Comments

  1. November 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm —

    If this happens, can we start a network to help American women come to Canada to seek medical service Said? I volunteer to offer free room and board to American women. There is a Morgentaller clinic within 2km of my home.

  2. November 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm —

    Rebecca Watson,

    Hopefully the Democrats in the senate will be able to take full advantage of the filibuster and force Donald Trump to nominate more moderate supreme court justices, instead of the religious right’s anti abortion, anti choice, anti LGBT dream judges.

    • November 19, 2016 at 9:50 pm —

      I truly wish the Democrats in the Senate would have the guts to say “We don’t think a new Supreme Court justice should be appointed in an election decade; it should be up to the people to decide who the next President should be so they can appoint one” and then filibuster for four/eight years… but I don’t have much faith they’ll do that. It might take a huge campaign to get them to do that… and perhaps at this point, the best we can hope for is that they’ll strike a compromise where Merrick Garland gets the currently open spot, and they agree not to endlessly filibuster future spots. But even that would require more of a backbone than they’ve shown in the past.

      • November 19, 2016 at 11:16 pm —

        Infophile,

        I hope they have enough backbone, and we have at least some reason to be cautiously optimistic. The Democrats have opposed and stopped some bad supreme court judges from being nominated by Republican presidents in the recent past. If they can stop the confirmation of racists, and stop the GOP from being able to impose and an anti choice / anti LGBT litmus test on judges, they will have done far better than nothing. Still it would be better if had a Democratic majority in both houses of congress, and Bernie Sanders, or even Hillary Clinton in the White House instead of Donald Trump. Unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about that now. Fortunately when the midterms roll around we maybe able to change the make up of the house and senate, and make it more difficult for Republicans to pass a their agenda and put a bunch of wingnuts on the court. Don’t forget to vote in 2018.

    • November 21, 2016 at 2:04 pm —

      It’s worth noting that the republicans are considering the “nuclear option” this year, and killing the filibuster. Since it’s not a constitutional requirement, the filibuster is actually set down in each senate session’s vote on rules.

      If the republicans genuinely think they have one last chance to pass whatever they want, with no restrictions, they could do it starting in January 2017 and there’s nothing the democrats could do to stop them.

      Sure it would be the most toxic abuse of power and the end to republicanism(ironic isn’t?) in the US, but with Trump’s election, I’m pretty wary of an actual fascist power grab.

  3. November 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm —

    Won’t someplace in the South with conservative federal judges just pass a law banning abortion, and it’ll take years for that case to get to the Supreme Court, and depending on who they get, won’t be stayed?
    That’s my fear, states will just start banning it outright.

    • November 19, 2016 at 11:23 pm —

      Hanoumatoi,

      That could be a possibility at this point. I will be extremely angry if I’m proven wrong and the Democrats in the senate don’t use their filibuster and allow Trump and the Republicans to impose a far right litmus test on Judges. We have reason at least can hope that most Republican senators understand that its in their long term self interest and won’t get rid of the filibuster. After all the Democrats could do the same to them once they’re the majority, and they won’t be able to complain without looking like hypocrites if they do that.

      • November 22, 2016 at 3:12 am —

        Republicans don’t care about looking like hypocrites, that’s a big part of the problem. If they can get enough destruction of government done in 4 years, they will go for it.
        It’s one of those things, they say you can’t destroy hate with hate, but meeting unending hate with love just burns you down. That’s the Republican platform, meeting anything with hate.

        • November 22, 2016 at 8:15 am —

          And even if run-of-the-mill Republicans do care, Trump obviously does not.

          And his lapdogs in the media will aid and abet his power grab, as witnessed by his twitter rant against Hamilton overshadowing his $25 million dollar Trump University settlement.

          When Trump needs a distraction the media hold the jiggly keys.

          Trump is a wholly unqualified politician but he knows how to manipulate the media, and he will do just that (Making America Great Again) while letting Pence set the agenda.

          The worst of both worlds as it were, just ask John Kasich.

          • November 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

            Mrmisconception,

            When it comes to getting rid of the filibuster, thankfully its one instance, where what Trump thinks may not matter, actually. He doesn’t get to make the rules of how the senate operates. US senators do that, not the president.

        • November 22, 2016 at 10:32 am —

          Hanoumatoi,

          They might care enough not to do it. They will want to be able to stop it, if and when the Democrats ever do it to them. Besides, the cynical Republicans, the ones who are not true believers in right wing dogma, will want someone to blame for the failure of their policies.

  4. November 22, 2016 at 10:40 am —

    Rebecca Watson,

    Here’s a bit of good news. Even some Republicans it seems are standing up to Trump. Hopefully this will continue.

    Willing to oppose Trump, some Senate Republicans gain leverage
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-senate-trump-idUSKBN13H111?

  5. November 25, 2016 at 5:42 pm —

    A lot of it depends on who he appoints. In the current court, Alito and Thomas are the only ones shameless enough to blatantly overturn stare decisis.

    At the same time, one of the people he’s floated, Allison Eid, may overturn Oliphant; her husband advocated overturning Oliphant. So, there’s that. Granted, Eid’s competence is exactly why I can’t see Trump appointing her.

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