Editor’s Note: Alice Stewart is a CNN Political Commentator and board member at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. Read more opinion on CNN.
As a pro-life social conservative, I received my fair share of criticism for supporting Donald Trump for president. But I always looked right past the mean tweets and online insults.
I focused instead on the lifetime appointments to the high court that would elevate jurists who believed, as I do, that life begins at conception.
During his tenure, Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices – choices that had been vetted by the conservative Federalist Society – shifting the makeup of the court decisively to the right.
Democrats, as well as Never-Trump Republicans, said that in supporting Trump, I was “making a deal with the devil.” Some people even accused me of selling out my conservative principles. But I held my ground, and now my patience is being richly rewarded: We have a Supreme Court with a majority-judicial philosophy that reflects my views on Roe v. Wade.
The draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito upholding Mississippi’s pro-life legislation and overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t final, but it presages an enormous victory for the pro-life movement.
People like me who voted for Trump, in the belief that the Supreme Court ought to be our highest priority, should feel vindicated.
Democrats are claiming – predictably, but mistakenly – that Justice Alito’s opinion, if it becomes final, would ultimately lead to a nationwide abortion ban. What the left ignores is that overturning Roe won’t end all debates about abortion. It will, however, take the authority over decisions about abortion policy away from unelected federal officials and place it where it belongs – in the hands of elected state representatives.
National surveys show that a majority of Americans say abortion should usually occur within the first trimester. And many voters favor the limitations that Mississippi is seeking to put into place.
Some pro-abortion activists are attempting to leverage the leak of this draft decision and discredit the high court. But it was apparent to many of us from the beginning that Roe was wrongly decided.
Even a progressive icon like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a staunch advocate of reproductive freedom for women, had words of criticism for the decision.
“My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum on the side of change,” Ginsburg told an audience at the University of Chicago Law School in May of 2013. While she supported a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, she felt that Roe stifled debate over abortion and made it more likely that there would be no lasting national consensus on the matter.
The Supreme Court is right to return the highly contentious issue of abortion back to the states. No two states will adopt exactly the same policies, which means that each state will have the flexibility to craft its own solutions. Provisions for rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother should also be protected, in my view.
The draft opinion corrects the falsehood that abortion is protected by the Constitution or that it is part of long held American tradition. President George W. Bush, who appointed Alito, merits praise, as does Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has been a warrior for originalist judges – jurists who embrace the principle that the constitutionality of a law should be determined by the interpretation held by the founders at the time they wrote that cherished document.
Also deserving high praise, of course, is President Trump, whose three originalist Supreme Court picks – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – are all said to have voted with Alito.
While it appears that the Supreme Court is now poised to vacate Roe v. Wade, allowing for the imposition of many commonsense state laws, this hardly ends the controversy.
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The debate now will surround efforts to defend and preserve life, and will move to state legislatures and courthouses. It’s our obligation as Americans to protect women by offering compassionate care in a post-Roe environment to ensure the dignity of every person. Pregnancy care centers across the country can provide this care to people facing difficult pregnancy decisions. These centers provide testing, counseling, and support to those who may find themselves dealing with unplanned pregnancies.
Donald Trump said and did a lot of things I didn’t agree with, but I voted for him to be my president, not my pastor. As far as I am concerned, politics is about policy, not personality.
I am unapologetic about supporting a pro-life candidate who talked the talk, and walked the walk. For conservatives like me, this impending Supreme Court ruling on Roe underscores the wisdom of that decision.