Now that Donald Trump’s nominees have shifted the makeup of the Supreme Court, we’re starting to see what the next legal challenges to Roe v. Wade might look like.
Last week, federal judges blocked two Kentucky pro-life bills: one banning abortion based on sex, race, or a disability diagnosis (otherwise known as eugenics) and the other a heartbeat law. Also last week, a federal judge blocked an Ohio law banning dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion procedures. Indiana’s eugenics abortion ban was blocked by a federal judge and is still waiting to hear back from the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, other states are passing and considering new pro-life legislation at an impressive pace. Mississippi recently enacted a heartbeat law, banning most abortions after the fetal heartbeat can be detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Iowa put one in place last May. One is working its way through the Georgia legislature, along with others in Tennessee and Missouri. Utah’s governor recently signed a bill banning abortion based on a Down syndrome diagnosis, while a similar Arkansas measure is working its way up in Little Rock. A dilation and evacuation ban bill is being deliberated in North Dakota.
And, naturally, whenever a new pro-life bill becomes law, the abortion industry mounts a new legal offensive. When you’ve got multiple legal challenges in different circuits, you increase the chance that there’s going to be disagreement among the courts and therefore increase the likelihood that the issue will be taken up by the Supreme Court.
Between the number of heartbeat laws, anti-eugenics abortion bills, and D&E bans, the real question is which issue will get the chance to chip away at Roe v. Wade first.
With Justice Brett Kavanaugh now sitting in the seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the unborn Americans’ odds at the Supreme Court are better than they’ve been in decades, though some serious pro-life concerns about Chief Justice John Roberts are now cropping up.
At National Review, David French makes the argument that now is the time to bombard the judicial branch with legal challenges to Roe v. Wade like these: “it’s time to throw down the gauntlet, declare to the world (and to the Court) that the era of incrementalism is over, and show that the people are ready to embrace life.”
The number of new laws passing may well signal that bombardment is under way.