President-Elect Donald Trump—the man the Washington Post lambasted for taking five different abortion positions in three days—has not even been inaugurated, but states are already moving to ban abortion. Trump famously argued that women should be penalized for seeking abortions, and selected anti-abortion extremist Mike Pence as his running mate.
Moderate Trump supporters have insisted that a Trump presidency won’t spell the end of abortion rights. But the right Supreme Court case could reverse Roe vs. Wade under a conservative court. With every pro-choice member of the Court in their seventies or eighties and Scalia’s seat empty, the two nominees necessary to tip the Court balance are a near-certainty under Trump.
Several states have already responded to the Trump election with moves to severely restrict abortion rights. This isn’t an accident. Cases arising from anti-abortion legislation could eventually make their way to the Supreme Court. And if Roe vs. Wade disappears, states can do whatever they want to abortion rights.
Ohio’s Fetal Heart Rate Law
New legislation bans abortions in Ohio as soon as a fetal heart rate is detected—usually around five to six weeks. Pregnancy is usually detected around the fourth or fifth week, giving women just a dew days to seek an abortion. The law contains no exception for rape or incest victims. Even more horrifying, Ohio allows rapists to sue for custody of their children. Taken together, these laws could force women to continually interact with their rapists for 18 years or longer.
Texas’s Burial Requirement
Despite months of opposition from choice activists, Texas announced in November that it will require aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated. The process could cost providers several thousand dollars per fetus. And in the case of many first-trimester abortions, there’s not really a body to bury—just the evacuated contents of the uterus.
The state received more than 35,000 comments on the law, many from women angry about the intrusion on reproductive freedom. One rape survivor who had an abortion said that the law, had it been in effect when she had her abortion, would have rubbed her face in her rape.
Other State Laws
Ohio and Texas are only the most recent states to restrict abortion rights. Oklahoma recently attempted to revoke the medical licenses of doctors who perform abortions. An Indiana fetal burial law similar to Texas’s legislation was blocked by a federal judge. And Louisiana enacted legislation this summer to ban second trimester abortions.
Choice advocates have long counted on courts to uphold women’s fundamental right to control their own bodies. This may change under Trump, who not only gets to fill any Supreme Court vacancies, but who will also appoint federal judges. Even if Roe doesn’t disappear entirely, conservative federal judges may interpret the law in ways that effectively ban abortion in some states.