One of President Donald Trump’s biggest successes thus far has been his reshaping of the judiciary branch through the successful confirmations of his Supreme Court appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who tilted the high court in favor of conservatives.
That ideological shift on the bench has led many on the left to lament that the monumental Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling from 1973 could be in danger of being overturned — and there are a plethora of abortion-related cases working their way through the judicial system that could very well result in that outcome.
Abortion cases flood Supreme Court pipeline
The Washington Post recently reported that no less than 20 separate abortion cases are in the pipeline headed toward to the Supreme Court, any one of which could prove catastrophically consequential to the court’s 1973 decision.
Though Republican-appointed justices have upheld the right of abortion in the past, Drexel University law professor David S. Cohen suggested that no such surprises are in store this time around.
“It’s hard to see how [Roe v. Wade] survives with the current lineup,” he said, referring to the 5-4 conservative slant that the high court currently boasts.
But while Cohen suggested that it is more likely that the current court will “whittle away” at abortion rights slowly, he said that “if any one of” of the nearly-two-dozen abortion cases currently winding through the judicial system “gets to the Supreme Court, it could be the basis of overturning Roe.”
Wide range of provisions under review
One such case could be June Medical Services v. Gee, which centers on a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in case anything goes wrong during their procedures. The legislation was enjoined by a district judge for placing an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion, and an appeal followed.
There are also two cases in which Planned Parenthood is suing the state of Indiana that may also be heard by the court. The first involves a statutory prohibition against abortions based on race, sex, or disability, as well as a mandate that fetal remains be buried or cremated — instead of sold for profit.
A lower court ruled this provision to be violative of women’s due process rights, and an appeal was subsequently pursued.
The second case out of Indiana involves a requirement that patients submit to an ultrasound and 18-hour waiting period prior to undergoing an abortion. Both provisions are currently on hold pending an appeal of a lower court ruling that they posed an undue burden on women seeking to end their pregnancies.
Cases could prove pivotal
Meanwhile, another case that could end up in Washington involves a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks, a restriction found by a lower court to be unconstitutional.
Planned Parenthood and others also filed suit against a Texas law limiting the types of termination procedures that could be used during a second-trimester abortion. Similar laws limiting abortion rights in states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, and Ohio have also been blocked at the district or circuit court level and have appeals pending at the Supreme Court.
It is unclear if all or even any of these cases will actually be granted certiorari and heard by the high court, and no one can say with certainty how the court will rule. That said, given the current makeup of the court, it stands to reason that one or more of these cases could indeed yield results that will spell victory for pro-lifers who support the rights of the unborn.