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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.