With 635 days before the 2020 presidential election, abortion is emerging as a potentially huge factor in next year’s contest.
Late Thursday, in what was a significant test of the Supreme Court’s newly strengthened conservative majority, the justices ruled 5 to 4 to temporarily block a Louisiana abortion law from taking effect on Friday.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices to prevent a law that would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals for the safety of women having abortions.
The ruling comes after Democrats in New York shocked millions of Americans by passing a law that makes abortion legal, even up to the point of birth.
The state’s Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) hailed it as the most aggressive women’s rights achievement in the nation.
“This administration defies American evolution,” Cuomo claimed during a press conference shortly after signing the bill into law. “We are supposed to be moving forward, we are supposed to be advancing, we are supposed to live and learn, we are supposed to be growing.”
Democrats in Virginia tried to pass a similar law but failed. But other states are moving in New York’s direction.
The New Mexico House just passed a bill that would make abortion legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy if Roe v Wade is overturned. If the New Mexico Senate passes it, the Democratic governor says she’ll sign it.
In Vermont, lawmakers want to pass a bill that critics say would make abortion an absolute right for any reason.
It’s all part of an aggressive campaign by abortion advocates and groups like NARAL and others who want to significantly expand access to abortion in states where Democrats won last fall.
President Trump and GOP lawmakers are pushing back. “To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children, who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” Trump said during his State of the Union speech Tuesday.
While Trump’s call for a ban on late-term abortions is unlikely to happen in Congress, Republican legislators in several states like Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee are campaigning for tougher anti-abortion measures like the “heartbeat law” that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Meanwhile, House Republicans want legislation that would require mandatory medical care for late-term abortions where the fetus is alive outside the mother’s womb.
“I want to ask mothers across this country to join with us to make sure that we don’t see our maternity wards turned into killing fields,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said earlier this week.
And while Democrats in more states try to introduce far-reaching pro-abortion bills, polls show the public is against such measures.
A Gallup poll shows that while 60 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, only 28 percent support abortion in the 2nd trimester. And that number plummets to just 13 percent for abortions during the third trimester.