Trump vic­tory could im­peril Roe v Wade abor­tion rul­ing

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE - — AP

Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court de­ci­sion le­gal­iz­ing abor­tion na­tion­wide, could be in jeop­ardy un­der Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­dency. If a re­con­fig­ured high court did over­turn it, the likely out­come would be a patch­work map: some states pro­tect­ing abor­tion access, oth­ers en­act­ing tough bans, and many strug­gling over what new lim­its they might im­pose. Trump, who will have at least one Supreme Court va­cancy to fill, has pledged to ap­point “pro-life” jus­tices who po­ten­tially would be open to weak­en­ing or re­vers­ing Roe. With one seat va­cant, the high court now has a 5-3 ma­jor­ity sup­port­ing abor­tion rights, and thus one of those five would need to va­cate his or her seat to give the court an anti-abor­tion ma­jor­ity.

Trump broached that pos­si­bil­ity in an in­ter­view aired Sun­day night on CBS’ “60 Min­utes,” sug­gest­ing that a re­ver­sal of Roe would re­turn the mat­ter to the states, leav­ing it up to their leg­is­la­tures to de­cide the fu­ture of abor­tion access. Asked about the like­li­hood that some women would face abor­tion bans in their states, Trump replied, “Well, they’ll per­haps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.” Sup­port­ers of abor­tion rights con­curred with that anal­y­sis. “If Roe were over­turned, we would likely re­turn to a patch­work quilt of laws, which would force women onto the road even more than at present,” said Dr. David Grimes, a North Carolina ob­ste­tri­ciang­y­ne­col­o­gist.

Grimes was al­lud­ing to the fact that many states un­der Repub­li­can con­trol al­ready have forced clo­sure of some abor­tion clin­ics, con­fronting some women with the need for long-dis­tance travel in order to ob­tain an abor­tion. While af­flu­ent women might be able to af­ford such travel, it can be an in­sur­mount­able bur­den for some low-in­come women. “Is that the world we want, where women’s abil­ity to get the care she needs de­pends on her abil­ity to go to another state?” asked Jen­nifer Dal­ven, di­rec­tor of the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union’s Re­pro­duc­tive Free­dom Project.

Im­pose bans

Anti-abor­tion leader Clark Forsythe, act­ing pres­i­dent and se­nior coun­sel for Amer­i­cans United For Life, pre­dicted that the states would break into three ba­sic cat­e­gories if Roe were over­turned: Per­haps a dozen states would con­tinue to make abor­tion widely ac­ces­si­ble, another dozen or so would ban vir­tu­ally all abor­tions un­less the mother’s life were at stake, and roughly two-dozen more states would thrash out their re­sponse with de­bate among the pub­lic and in the leg­is­la­tures. Forsythe sug­gested that some of those states might al­low abor­tions in the first trimester of preg­nancy, while re­strict­ing or ban­ning later abor­tions.

Among the states likely to main­tain full access to abor­tion are those on the Pa­cific Coast and in the North­east. South-cen­tral and south­east­ern states would be among those likely to im­pose bans, po­ten­tially leav­ing women in a huge, con­tigu­ous chunk of the United States with no nearby access to abor­tion providers. “For many women, it’s not pos­si­ble to tra­verse across mul­ti­ple state lines,” said Nancy Northup, pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Re­pro­duc­tive Rights. “This could have tragic con­se­quences.”

She said one con­se­quence might be an in­crease in the num­ber of women seek­ing to self-in­duce an abor­tion. Florida, com­pared to other South­ern states, has a large num­ber of abor­tion clin­ics - more than 70, according to the most re­cent count by the Guttmacher In­sti­tute, a re­search group which sup­ports abor­tion rights. Laura Good­hue, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Florida Al­liance of Planned Par­ent­hood Af­fil­i­ates, said the state leg­is­la­ture has been in­creas­ingly hos­tile to abor­tion rights, yet she was un­cer­tain what would hap­pen if Roe were over­turned.

“A ma­jor­ity of Florid­i­ans sup­port access to abor­tion, and don’t want to see it go away,” she said. In the decades since the Roe de­ci­sion, sev­eral states have kept or added anti-abor­tion laws that could take ef­fect im­me­di­ately if the rul­ing were over­turned. Among them is Wis­con­sin. Ni­cole Sa­far, di­rec­tor of govern­ment re­la­tions for the state’s Planned Par­ent­hood af­fil­i­ate, said a statute has been on the books since 1849 mak­ing it a felony for a doc­tor to per­form an abor­tion in Wis­con­sin. Abor­tion is likely to re­main le­gal in neigh­bor­ing Illi­nois, but Sa­far said even that trip might be out of reach for many low­in­come women in Wis­con­sin.


WASH­ING­TON: In this file photo, marchers carry a ban­ner dur­ing the March for Life 2016, in front of the US Supreme Court in Wash­ing­ton, dur­ing the an­nual rally on the an­niver­sary of 1973 ‘Roe v Wade’ US Supreme Court de­ci­sion le­gal­iz­ing abor­tion.

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