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Trump Wants to Take Over Supreme Court With Justices Hostile to Reproductive Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 9, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom

Washington, DC — Today, in a transparent attempt to play to his base and distract from a bombshell report that Trump purposely downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump released a shortlist of potential, additional Supreme Court nominees should he be re-elected for a second term — making clear that he aims to redesign the court in his image during another four years in office. If reelected, and with four justices over the age of 70, Trump would almost certainly appoint at least one new justice, pushing the court farther to the right. In his first term, Trump, with the aid of Mitch McConnell and the Senate majority, has placed more than 200 federal judges in lifetime appointments, many with records hostile to civil and reproductive rights. That includes Supreme Court justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, both of whom would have allowed Louisiana to enforce a medically unnecessary abortion restriction, as well as the Trump administration to enforce rules that allow your employer or university to deny you birth control coverage.

One of the many dangerous judges on Trump’s list today is Sarah Pitlyk, who brazenly opposes in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, and she has even fought for the right to discriminate against people for using birth control or becoming pregnant outside of marriage. Another, Tom Cotton, just tweeted that Roe v Wade should be overturned. 

During his first campaign, Trump promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v Wade. There are currently 17 abortion cases just one step away from the Supreme Court, and this November, the Supreme Court will take up a case on striking down the Affordable Care Act.

Statement from Jenny Lawson, Planned Parenthood Votes executive director:

“Today's shortlist confirms Trump and his anti-abortion allies in Congress want to place justices on the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v. Wade, restrict safe, legal abortion, and undermine your civil and reproductive rights. And with another term, he may get the chance to do just that. Trump’s first two nominees to the Supreme Court  — who were confirmed with votes by senators including Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, and Thom Tillis — have already voted to limit access to abortion and birth control, and there’s no reason to think Trump’s new nominees wouldn’t follow suit. Indeed, Trump promised to only appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. While today’s list is a transparent play to Trump’s base, 77% of Americans support safe, legal abortion. Promising to appoint even more justices solely because of their opposition to abortion rights is an untenable political position. Planned Parenthood Votes will make sure people understand the courts, their health, and their rights are on the line this November.”

Attacks on reproductive health and rights are felt most intensely by those with low incomes, Black people and other people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people at the intersection of these identities.  People in these communities  already face barriers to care caused by systemic racism, discrimination and inequality. For many of these people, abortion is already virtually out of reach, even with Roe v. Wade, and a federal judiciary sympathetic to state abortion restrictions would only increase the barriers to care.


Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.