ABORTION is one of the most-pressing issues in today's political arena, especially in light of the election of Pres. Donald Trump and the shifting ideological balance on the Supreme Court. During the final 2016 presidential debate, then-candidate Trump was asked if he wanted to see Roe v. Wade (1973) overturned. He responded, "If we put another two or perhaps three justices on [the Supreme Court], that's really what's going to be--that will happen.... I am putting pro-life justices on the Court."
In an interview with then-Fox TV host Bill O'Reilly, he went so far as to say that the "biggest way you can protect [life] is by electing me president."
Trump's emphasis on pro-life justices proved to be especially important to win over conservative voters who were cautious of the untraditional candidate. Notably, a poll conducted by The Washington Post revealed that 26% of all Trump voters expressed the basis of their decision was the Supreme Court.
Once Trump was elected, widespread concern over the fate of Roe v. Wade proliferated. In New York, for instance, various elected Democratic officials raised alarms. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stated that "We are on the brink of not having reproductive freedom in the country," and framed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as the biggest threat to women's rights in her lifetime.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that "rights are under attack in Washington," and even proposed a state constitutional amendment (passed in January) to protect legal abortion, although the New York Reproductive Health Act goes beyond that by allowing third-trimester abortions.
Ultimately, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the decision to legalize abortion would return to the states. In Republican-led states, lawmakers stand poised to implement sweeping bans on abortion, as in Ohio where lawmakers have approved a bill banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
However, it is unlikely that more-progressive states will follow suit. The notion that the reversal of Roe will end abortion as we know it is inaccurate, though there are problems policymakers must address.
Although a Federal right to an abortion was established by the Supreme Court, it has not been applied uniformly among the states, many of which have been chipping away at Roe for decades, placing restrictions on when, where, and how abortions are provided, while others have opted to maintain broad access.
Ensuring women have the freedom to make their own reproductive health decisions, preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place, and developing practical tools to improve parenting skills can decrease the...