Will Donald Trump overturn Roe v. Wade?

by Margaret Judson

After Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away early last year, the Senate has been in a battle over who will fill his seat. Republicans stymied efforts to nominate President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. Now, after losing the presidency, Democrats are concerned one of the most important decisions concerning women's health could be overturned when the new president makes his pick: Will Donald Trump overturn Roe v. Wade as president?

Of course, a President Trump won't be able to single-handedly strike down a Supreme Court decision. However, he would set the tone — and have the power to nominate the justices who could, in fact, lead to overturning the landmark reproductive rights decision.

At the third, "nasty woman," presidential debate of 2016, Trump made abundantly clear, in the crudest, most untrue terms possible, that he is anti-choice and would choose an anti-choice judge to fill any and all openings in the highest court. When the issue of abortion came up, Trump said

Well, I think it's terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that's OK and Hillary can say that that's OK. But it's not OK with me, because based on what she's saying, and based on where she's going, and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.

The debate's moderator, FoX News's Chris Wallace, pushed hard on the then-candidate for an answer to his question, asking specifically, "Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?" Trump, admitted, "Well, if we put another two, or perhaps, three justices on, that's really what's going to be ... that's what'll happen. And that'll happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: it will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination."

Good point, Mr. President-Elect — let's talk about the states: just last month, one state, for example, already took Trump's win as a green-light to restrict abortion access. In Ohio, two proposals, the six-week abortion bill and the 20-week abortion bill, measures that had been kicking around in their state legislature for six years to no avail, finally made it to the governor's desk. Why? The Ohio Senate president, Kenneth Faber, made it very clear: “New president, new Supreme Court justice appointees, change the dynamic ... it has a better chance than it did before [to not be struck down]." Faber may, unfortunately, be right.