What Trump's SCOTUS Nominee Would Mean For Reproductive Rights

Photo: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA/REX/Shutterstock.
Yesterday President Trump announced that Judge Neil Gorsuch would be his nominee for the open spot on the Supreme Court left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. And in many ways it seems like Gorsuch is an obvious replacement for Scalia — which is likely not a good thing if you're a fan of your reproductive rights.

The most worrying aspect is undoubtedly Trump's promise to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade, which ruled that the U.S. Constitution protects your right to make your own private decision about having an abortion. We know that Gorsuch is an opponent of recent "right to die" legislation because, as he says, human life is "intrinsically valuable." Plus, in 2013, he ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby before the case made it to the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the Supreme Court's ruling vastly expanded for-profit companies' ability to seek a religious exemption to the Affordable Care Act's contraception benefit.

So, although we don't know Gorsuch's specific plans for abortion rights should he be appointed, reproductive health advocates aren't optimistic.

This idea of overturning Roe v. Wade is "troubling on many levels," says Daniel Grossman, MD, director of Advancing New Standards In Reproductive Health, in a statement. "As a physician and public health expert, I am concerned on a very basic level because it is simply bad medicine. Abortion is healthcare, and it should be health professionals who determine what procedures and services are the standard of care — not judges and politicians."

"Any prospective Supreme Court nominee must hold views consistent with the Constitution and settled law about a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive health decisions," says Jodi Magee, president and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, in a statement. "That must include upholding Roe v. Wade — the law of the land for 44 years. Women rely on this decision every day."

Or, as Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, puts it, "Gorsuch represents an existential threat to legal abortion in the United States and must never wear the robes of a Supreme Court justice."

We don't know exactly how long we have until we'll see a Senate hearing for Gorsuch. But there's already talk of democrats stalling the vote à la the GOP's refusal to confirm Merrick Garland, Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court spot.

If you're stressed, take some solace in the fact that many states have already taken actions to protect reproductive health care in light of the new administration's views,. And there are still things you can do to protect your reproductive rights. We'd suggest starting here.
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