Trump Election Emboldens Opponents of Abortion Rights : Shots - Health News Donald Trump's presidency could have a profound impact on abortion. He has said he'll nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn the 1973 ruling that legalized the procedure.
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Access To Abortion Could Be Curtailed Under Trump Administration

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Access To Abortion Could Be Curtailed Under Trump Administration

Access To Abortion Could Be Curtailed Under Trump Administration

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Abortion opponents are feeling hopeful about a Donald Trump administration. Trump has said he'll nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has been looking into what to expect and joins us now. Hi, Jennifer.


SHAPIRO: So Trump will enter office with one Supreme Court vacancy to fill, and he might get more. There are three liberal to moderate justices close to age 80 or above. Is the idea of overturning Roe v. Wade really a possibility?

LUDDEN: There are a lot of ifs - you know, if he gets several vacancies on the court, if the right case comes along. That doesn't happen all the time. But even if all those stars were to align, I spoke with one abortion rights supporter who actually does not think that Roe is likely to be overturned.

Julie Rikelman's with the Center for Reproductive Rights. She points back to 1992, a big landmark case - Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania versus Casey. She says the court was then asked to overturn Roe, but they declined to do so, and they talked about the importance of precedent.

JULIE RIKELMAN: The majority opinion in Casey said not only is this right incredibly important to women and women of several generations have now come to age being able to determine the course of their lives and make the decisions that are best for them, but this is now a right that the court has upheld several times. And the court's very institutional integrity would be in jeopardy if it reversed course now.

LUDDEN: Of course we've had a lot more precedent since then, but you know, at the same time, there would be different justices on the court. Bottom line - we really don't know what would happen.

SHAPIRO: Looking at more recent precedent, wasn't there a big abortion rights case just this past year that went in favor of abortion rights advocates?

LUDDEN: Yes, the Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions in Texas. That was a 5 to 3 decision, by the way. So even when Donald Trump replaces the late Antonin Scalia on the court, that would not have changed the majority there. That case is continuing to have a ripple effect. Since then, we have seen a number of courts strike down abortion restrictions in other states, and abortion rights groups believe that will continue to happen.

SHAPIRO: Since the election, we've also reported on a rush of women getting long-acting birth control. What's that about?

LUDDEN: This is because Trump has said he wants to get rid of Obamacare, which includes a copay-free coverage of contraception. So women have gone on social media worrying about losing access to contraception and potentially also having less access to abortion.

Planned Parenthood clinics do say they've seen a sharp rise in women coming in, scheduling appointments. And a lot of them want IUDs. This is a very long-acting contraception - up to 12 years. Some woman say, you know, that could get them through two terms of a Trump administration.

SHAPIRO: What else would abortion opponents like to see in a Trump administration?

LUDDEN: I spoke with Clarke Forsythe of Americans United for Life. It's a big player in this area. He talked about two big things. He would love to see the next administration ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy. And Forsythe says something that members of Congress have tried repeatedly in recent years - he'd like to see them defund Planned Parenthood.

CLARKE FORSYTHE: The federal government, given the oppressive deficit and growing deficits, should not be spending half a billion dollars every year giving it to Planned Parenthood when essential gynecological care for poor women can be addressed by the many more community health centers and state and local government.

LUDDEN: Now, there are a number of Democrats in the Senate that could block the measure. It's unclear what its chances would be. Also, abortion rights groups say they're not sure how committed Trump would be to this idea. He used to call himself pro-choice. He has said at one point Planned Parenthood does a lot of good things.

On the other hand, they'll be looking to see if Vice President-elect Mike Pence seems to have more sway in this area. He has a long track record of opposing abortion and specifically working to defund Planned Parenthood.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Jennifer Ludden, thank you.

LUDDEN: Thank you.

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