As we move into the full second year of the Trump presidency, we have seen an unprecedented amount of attacks on immigrants, religious freedom, freedom of the press and levels of racism and sexism the likes of which haven’t been seen since the 60s. We have also seen the highest court in the nation uphold the rights of individuals and businesses to discriminate against a person’s sexual orientation because of their religious beliefs, and that same court upholding a ban against Muslims entering the country from six Muslim majority countries. So, the question on everyone’s mind is “What will happen to Roe v Wade if another Trump appointed Supreme Court judge is appointed?”
It’s important to remember that abortion rights have been eroding state by state over the last 30 years. Indeed, since the Reagan administration held office, states have become emboldened in restricting access to abortion under the guise of “protecting the life of women and babies.” The only reason the situation has not gotten even worse have been the number of lawsuits filed against these states for placing “undue burden” on women who seek abortions, the current federal standard that the Supreme Court established in 1992.
According to the June 29, 2018 edition of the Washington Post, if Roe v Wade is overturned, regulating abortion would revert fully to state legislatures, who have passed more than 400 laws that restrict access in the past six years alone.
There are four states where abortion would be banned as soon as Roe v. Wade were overturned; Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Dakota enacted “trigger laws” with delayed effective dates. Ten other states still have pre-Roe abortion bans on the books that never were repealed. Eight states have laws that explicitly protect abortion rights. North Carolina currently does not have a “trigger law” but given the makeup of the NCGA and the attempts made in the past to restrict women’s access to abortion, N.C. could move quickly to make abortion illegal or nearly impossible to access.
For the U.S. Senate to approve a new Supreme Court justice, they only need 51 votes. There are two Republican senators-Murkowski and Collins-who have stated their support for reproductive rights and would probably vote against a judge who states their will to overturn Roe v Wade; however, there are also three Democrats who could swing conservative and vote to approve the Supreme Court nominee.
What can you do? Write your Senators and Congressperson. Tell them to apply the same rules on selecting a Supreme Court justice in 2018 as they applied to the Obama administration in 2016. They must wait until after the election to move forward. Call, email and add your support to not overturning Roe v Wade. Our economic future as women is dependent on continuing access to ALL forms of reproductive care.
-By Lori Bunton, Vice President of Membership for NC National Organizaton for Women
Note: NC’s US Senators are Senator Richard Burr and Senator Thom Tillis. See “How to contact NC’s US Senators – Burr and Tillis.” Find your Congressperson at the “Who Represents Me” at NC Legislature’s website ncleg.net in the North Carolina House Of Representatives map.