One of the political adages Democrats and leftists need to internalize in the coming years is: “It’s extremely hard to take something away from people once they have it.” We saw that play out with Obamacare last summer, and though Trump and the Republicans continue to chip away at our healthcare, total legislative and executive control wasn’t enough to wipe it from the slate. The same will be true for social security, welfare, and any other facets of the social safety net they try to unmake.
And by the looks of it, the same will apply to a woman’s bodily autonomy. A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 67 percent of registered voters are against overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that functionally legalized abortion in the United States. That number includes a surprisingly high 43 percent of Republicans. The poll was conducted earlier this month before justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, but has become particularly pertinent since that news—though Kennedy most often sided with conservatives on the court in economic issues, he was often the swing vote in the other direction in anti-discrimination cases. When he’s inevitably replaced by a conservative more in line with Trump’s worldview, there will likely be a concerted effort to chip away at the country’s current abortion statutes.
That said, as Axios notes, this process would likely not include a wholesale attempt to reverse Roe v. Wade. It will be a subtler, more incremental process that includes upholding restrictive state laws (bans after a certain amount of time, for instance, like the Iowa statute that prohibits abortion after six weeks). That process will be easier than taking on Roe directly, and it could start start as early as next year.