Donald Trump will ban abortion if he becomes president, his running mate Mike Pence told a town hall in Michigan. Pence told a conservative crowd that Trump will appoint strict constitutionalists to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion.
“I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” Pence said, “We’ll see Roe vs. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.” Pence is a hard line conservative who is opposed to abortion at all stages and introduced a ‘religious freedom’ bill in his home state of Indiana. The law would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT people but was withdrawn following economic boycotts and widespread criticism.
Trump is already struggling to win over women voters. Polls show women overwhelmingly approve of Planned Parenthood, the family planning organisation that Republicans have called ‘the lens crafters of abortion’. Banning abortion is a major conservative issue despite most women approving Roe vs. Wade. Pence has tried to paint Trump as a ‘pro-life president’.
The next president is likely to appoint several SCOTUS justices. There is already a vacancy on the court thanks to Republican obstruction in the Senate. The GOP’s determination to control the court and keep a conservative majority is threatened by a potential Democratic victory in November’s election.
Though Trump has no record of pro-life activities, his moves to win Evangelical voters means he will have to embrace the GOP’s anti-choice rhetoric as the election heats up. Defending restrictive laws like those in Texas recently struck down by the Supreme Court will be awkward for Trump and will harm his already poor ratings among women.
While Trump is likely to win over white, working class men, women are an increasingly crucial demographic for presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton’s polls poorly with younger women but her pro-choice position and an endorsement from Planned Parenthood could push her over the top among women concerned about their rights to their own bodies.