Donald Trump has been working on selecting a new supreme court justice since the announcement by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a relative centrist, that he will retire from the Supreme Court by the end of July.
Trump’s Supreme Court pick has yet to be officially announced, though some sources, including CNBC, have reported that the president has “quietly” settled on D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh was previously appointed by Republican President George W. Bush to the D.C. Circuit Court and has voted against abortion rights in the past, notably in 2017 when he voted against an immigrant teen being allowed to terminate her own pregnancy.
The Village Voice recently put out a report discussing the probable incoming issues involving women’s health and women’s rights should Roe v. Wade be overturned by a Supreme Court decision.
Such a decision is increasing in likelihood in a world where the Supreme Court is made of a conservative majority. In fact many states have already put into place a number of laws restricting abortion, which could make it to the Supreme Court in the future. If upheld, these laws could effectively overturn abortion rights in many states or across the nation as a whole.
With issues like immigration and trade already causing significant backlash from U.S. citizens, the prospect of overturning a law as controversial as the right to an abortion will only further divide opponents of the Trump administration from Republicans.
In the past, Donald Trump has spoken vehemently against abortion and even indicated that women who have abortion procedures should face criminal charges. In an interview with Chris Matthews during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump, when asked if women should be punished in the legal system for having abortion, definitively answered in the affirmative.
“The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.”
After officially being nominated to the Republican candidacy, Trump went on to elaborate his plans to have Roe v. Wade overturned in the United States during a presidential debate with Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. When asked specifically about the prospect the 1973 decision being overturned, Trump was clear.
“That’ll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court… I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges…”
Opponents of overturning the landmark Supreme Court decision argue that to overturn Roe v. Wade would cause women to seek out abortions by illegitimate means, resulting in a higher mortality rate among pregnant women not wanting to carry their pregnancy to full term. They also argue it ultimately only punishes impoverished women, as people from wealthy families can afford to travel to states or countries where abortion is legal.
Less affluent women may either seek out risky “back alley” procedures or be stuck carrying their unwanted pregnancies to full term, potentially creating a crisis for child welfare and social services programs.
With Donald Trump’s likely appointment of another conservative to the Supreme Court certain to further the partisan divide already prominent in the United States, some outlets are reporting that many Senate Republicans are expressing an unwillingness to approve an anti-abortion Supreme Court nominee. Republican Senator Susan Collins has stated publicly she will not support a Supreme Court Justice hostile to Roe v. Wade.