In his "60 Minutes" interview with Leslie Stahl, President-elect Donald Trump outlined his plans for women's reproductive rights.
Whereas the reality TV personality has confirmed that the Defense of Marriage Act is safe, saying it's "done," and "settled," Trump sees Roe v. Wade, a 43-year-old law protecting the rights of women to make their own medical decisions as open for negotiation.
"I'm pro-life. The judges will be pro-life," Trump asserted in the interview. When Stahl pressed him further, Trump admitted there was a "long way to go," where Roe v. Wade was concerned.
"If [Roe v. Wade] ever were overturned, it would go back to the states," he said somewhat tentatively, his usual bluster slightly subdued.
"Yeah, but then some women won’t be able to get an abortion," Stahl prompted him.
Trump had no concern or compassion over Americans losing their right to choose, saying "They'll have to go to another state."
What Trump does not seem to understand is that "going to another state," is nowhere near a viable solution. Many women and girls cannot afford to leave their state for a medical procedure. And even if they could, how would Trump protect them from being arrested upon their return to a state that bans abortion? Perhaps Trump, who stated that "there has to be some form of punishment' for abortion earlier this year, is unconcerned about the fallout of his anti-choice stance.
When HB2 was passed in Texas, it only meant citizens had to wait longer and travel farther to get abortions, potentially causing emotional pain and financial strain, both likely to discourage women from getting the procedure in the first place. This pressure is a way to put women under duress while maintaining the illusion that they have a choice and access to reasonable human rights.
Luckily, there are many barriers to Roe v. Wade being overturned; Trump's "long way to go" is accurate. There would need to be a significant case brought to the Supreme Court to even open the door, which could take years to present itself, as well as a compelling reason for the court to reject the precedent of the past four decades, which they tend to avoid. Roe v. Wade has survived conservative attempts to overturn it before, although the prospect that it could be slowly eroded rather than destroyed outright is a worrying one.
Pro-choice Americans can only hope that, as with so many of his positions taken up during his campaign, Trump will abandon his stance on abortion when sworn in as president.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters