Thirteen states have passed a combined total of 1,460 anti-abortion bills, more than any year in recent history, according to the Guttmacher Institute. There is always a battle going on over anti-abortion laws; the battle has been heated and will likely be heated next year as well. But more than just the volume, what’s striking is who is leading the charge. At a time when President Donald Trump’s picks to the Supreme
Court may help determine the future of the law, Republicans are jockeying to get control of health care. Or rather, control of public health policy relating to abortion. Sen. Tom Cotton, who chairs the Public Health Subcommittee, took to Twitter on Monday to share a case of GOP leadership intervening on behalf of the party: And Alabama State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin, a Republican and anti-abortion activist
who used to work at a Planned Parenthood clinic, said on Twitter last month that no committee’s work on abortion are full years on the books: The push for laws hasn’t been restricted to the states. There are at least five lawsuits currently ongoing to overturn or challenge Roe v. Wade — most of which hail from states that are politically friendly to the GOP and under Republican control. They range from the Supreme
Court not considering cases about abortion in the last term because the Justice conservatives appointed by President Donald Trump didn’t have enough votes to have reversed the landmark case. Another is a lawsuit in the Trump administration that would prevent states from receiving federal funding for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. But the federalist divide in the Supreme Court, both conservative and
liberal, may continue even after Trump nominates a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has written many of the court’s abortion cases and has been a swing vote for 45 years. That’s particularly true with Chief Justice John Roberts, who is likely to oppose any new abortion case and sided with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito to uphold a key provision of the Affordable Care Act — the so-called “pocket
veto” of the law’s individual mandate. That makes him something of a vanishingly rare example of a conservative within a liberal court and an example of what Trump and Republicans hope to happen to the Supreme Court, as their positions will align with both Alito and Thomas on all but the most contested areas of Roe and its corollary case, Casey.