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Women's Rights Groups: Roe v. Wade Faces its Greatest Threat

President Donald Trump has vowed to his supporters to nominate justices who oppose abortion to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Matt Wade/Flickr)
President Donald Trump has vowed to his supporters to nominate justices who oppose abortion to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Matt Wade/Flickr)
June 29, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. – With the announcement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, some women's groups predict urgent times ahead for the future of reproductive rights.

There are specific concerns about the future of 'Roe v. Wade,' as President Donald Trump has promised to appoint nominees to the court who would overturn the law legalizing abortion. President and CEO of the National Women's Law Center Fatima Goss-Graves says Kennedy was among the justices who have upheld the principles in Roe v. Wade.

"In recent years, Justice Kennedy was the key vote to say that Roe versus Wade remains the law of the land,” says Goss-Graves, “and to reject all of those efforts to make sure that women do not have access to abortion."

Justice Neil Gorsuch, the first Trump appointee, was among the majority of justices who this week ruled that so-called "crisis pregnancy" centers run by anti-abortion groups don't have to post information about the availability of abortion services.

Some Democratic senators want Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to postpone confirmation hearings until after the midterm elections. But Ezra Levin, co-founder of the Democratic organization "Indivisible," contends the GOP is intent on pushing an anti-choice agenda.

Levin says McConnell already stole a seat from the Supreme Court in 2016 by blocking President Barack Obama's nominee.

"Last year, he changed the rules for appointing Supreme Court justices, down to 51 votes to confirm,” says Levin. “Now Mitch McConnell, this president and the broader Republican Party is planning to break that rule for their own benefit, to jam through a nominee months before an election."

And President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Ilyse Hogue says lawsuits are already moving through the courts that could essentially overturn Roe v. Wade, although she contends that isn't what most people want.

"In all 50 states in this country, the majority of Americans actually do not want to punish women, believe in legal access to abortion, know what's at stake and are ready to get out and fight this,” says Hogue. “It is true in red states; it is true in blue states."

The Supreme Court could potentially hear cases that could determine how far into a pregnancy an abortion would be legal, and whether states can exclude Medicaid patients from Planned Parenthood services.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY