President-elect Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to nominating pro-life justices to the Supreme Court but suggested an unwillingness to go further to ban abortion nationwide.
Asked specifically in a “60 Minutes” interview on CBS Sunday if he wants the Supreme Court to repeal the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, Trump said that at most the decision would mean women would have to travel to pro-abortion states to get an abortion.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” Trump told Leslie Stahl of the news magazine program. “I’m going to — I’m pro-life. The judges will be pro-life.”
He continued: “Having to do with abortion — if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states.”
When asked if women would be unable to receive abortions if their home states ban them, Trump said: “Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.”
“We’ll see what happens,” he added. “It’s got a long way to go, just so you understand. That has a long, long way to go.”
A Supreme Court appointment is expected to be one of the first decisions Trump will face in his presidency. A seat once occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia has remained vacant since his death in February, even though President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill it.
Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center, believes Vice President-elect Mike Pence is the driving force behind Trump’s pro-life stance.
“He’s absolutely the one pushing this,” she told The Telegraph. “He was a leader in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, and has enacted some incredibly restrictive legislation in Indiana.
“This has always been a priority for him — and now he has more power.”
As a form of protest, abortion supporters have been making donations to Planned Parenthood in Pence’s name and the organization itself has pledged to resist any effort to restrict access to abortion.
“Extreme lawmakers think Trump’s election gives them a mandate to roll back rights for women, LGBTQ folks, religious minorities, people with disabilities and people of color. They’re starting to move on discriminatory legislation before Trump has even taken office,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement.
“We need to send a message — loud and clear — right now. We’re stronger than they are — more powerful, more committed — and we won’t back down. The resistance starts now,” it added.