When it comes to civil rights, President Donald Trump has used executive orders to carry out an apparent racist-driven, anti-progressive agenda only to be thwarted by federal justices around the country. For the long term, however, it’s hard to say just how long the federal courts can stall executive orders when they occur. With 153 open federal judgeships, the future feels a bit daunting. Further, what might be stopped at lower-level courts may have no chance of being upheld at the Supreme Court of the United States.
With the recent announcement of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan, Trump’s nomination of Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would give the Supreme Court a practically firm conservative majority, 5-4. Kennedy has been a swing vote on many civil rights-related issues, including gay marriage. Kavanaugh is a wild card that liberals don’t trust but was also a top aide under then-President George W. Bush, who has been a longtime critic of Trump. Feeling comfortable about anything or anyone Trump chooses is a stretch for Democrats but perhaps there is more to consider.
When it comes to Kavanaugh, one of the biggest concerns is his perspective on Roe V. Wade and abortion rights in general. While he doesn’t apparently personally doesn’t stand by it, in his confirmation hearing for the DC Circuit, he deferred to upholding precedent. In another a case last year, he ruled against an undocumented 17-year-old female who wanted an abortion and was being held by the federal government, though he did not say she had no constitutional right to an abortion. It’s fairly unclear just how Kavanaugh would vote, given the opportunity to change the language of what is currently legally afforded to citizens.
While pro-choice advocates have the right to be concerned about the minimizing of the right to a safe and legal abortion, the good news is that the rate has been steadily declining. With more young people waiting to settle down, to have children, even to have sex, access to safe, legal abortions will always be important, but may not be as necessary as in times past.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most recent data shows, “In 2014, 652,639 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2014 was 12.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years, and the abortion ratio was 186 abortions per 1,000 live births.
“Compared with 2013, the total number and rate of reported abortions for 2014 decreased 2 percent, and the ratio decreased 7 percent. Additionally, from 2005 to 2014, the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 21 percent, 22 percent, and 22 percent, respectively. In 2014, all three measures reached their lowest level for the entire period of analysis (2005-2014).”
Some may argue, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, i.e., if Roe v. Wade is somehow reversed, at the very least, it seems as though the younger generations are learning about responsible family planning and being more careful in general. For now, our freedom to discuss sex, birth control, adoption and more is not being threatened so let’s take advantage of that and aim to prevent unwanted pregnancies that occur during consensual sex in the meantime.