From the campaign trail, Trump vowed that he will reverse Roe v. Wade, the critical Supreme Court decision making abortion legal. Can he actually do that?
As Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination moves forward, with a vote looming that could take place as early as Saturday, it looks that Trump is well on track to reverse the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. It’s known as Roe v. Wade, and it’s a been a political weapon almost from the moment it was passed.
With Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation all but assured, many Republicans are saying this is the moment they’ve been waiting for. “Anything that we can do to soften the blow of Roe v. Wade or weaken it or dilute it, it’s up to us to do that,” said Louisiana state Representative Lawrence Bagley (R), according to CNN.
In the wake of Trump’s successful election to the office of President, many state governments are using legislation to make abortions more and more difficult to obtain, despite the federal law that gives all women the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood and other women’s groups have expressed frank horror and fear about Kavanaugh’s appointment and Trump’s agenda.
There are lots of reasons why it’s a bad idea to reverse the landmark decision. A 2016 study showed that in countries where abortion is legally restricted, the abortion rate is actually somewhat higher than in countries where the procedure is illegal, according to the New York Post.
In 1967, there were 829,000 illegal or self-induced abortions performed, 6 years before the procedure would become legal. In 2014, after a massive population increase and the legalization of abortion, there were 652,639 abortions performed. The numbers went down, and by a great deal.
Today, it’s as safe to get a legal abortion as it is to get an injection of penicillin — or so says the WHO, World Health Organization. In the U.S., death from legal abortion is less than one percent.
It wasn’t always this way. Prior to Roe v. Wade, women were dying. In 1960, 27 women in California alone died from abortions. In 1976, three years after the ruling was passed, zero women died of abortion.
And having a dominantly conservative Supreme Court could definitely open the door for some major legislation changes, including Roe v. Wade. But even if the ruling is overturned at the federal level, women won’t have to start going to back-alley doctors again. Should the Supreme Court declare Roe v. Wade overturned, the matter of abortion will fall back to the states or to Congress for them to decide the matter, according to USA Today.
The truth is, abortion scores points politically — but all the studies and all the data and all the actual facts show that legal abortion works, and illegal abortion doesn’t. Will Trump call for the Court to reverse this decision?
Yes, it’s possible. Abortion is often used as a talking point only, but more and more politicians have been making strong moves to render legal abortion all but impossible. Many states have passed legislation forcing women to get ultrasounds and perform other tasks before obtaining an abortion, and several governors in Republican-led states have worked to close Planned Parenthood clinics.
Maybe today’s politicians are too far removed from the days when women sought out illegal physicians and inflicted harm upon themselves to end unwanted pregnancy. Making abortion illegal does not stop abortion. It just kills more women.
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