We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Reproductive Rights Advocates Could Face ‘Hostile Bench’ After Kennedy Leaves Supreme Court, Expert Says

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

A woman protests outside the Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill in in Washington, Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

With Justice Anthony Kennedy leaving the Supreme Court and several states pushing for more restrictive women's health policies, the landscape of abortion access in America could be headed for a major shift

California has some of the nation’s most progressive abortion policies. But earlier this week, the Supreme Court sided with anti-abortion groups against a state law that requires pregnancy centers to inform women about their options.

Abortion opponents look forward to the possibility of a more conservative bench. But some Californians worry that Kennedy’s retirement will lead to less abortion access or even the downfall of Roe vs. Wade.

Berkeley law professor Melissa Murray says they have reason for concern. “Any progressive law with regards to reproductive rights and justice will face a more hostile bench,” she said. “If they have five votes and a will to do it, they can.”

That's because there are several anti-abortion cases winding their way from lower courts to the federal level.

“These are laws that explicitly ban or restrict abortion at early periods of gestation, or at that criminalize abortion. And these are laws that would be right within the gambit of Roe v Wade,” she said.

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and other reproductive rights groups are already speaking up about what they see as the latest threat to women’s choices. Republicans in Congress insist they'll vote on a successor to Kennedy by this fall

That’s because Kennedy will likely be replaced by a more conservative judge. And that could change the outcome of anti-abortion cases from other states currently making their way to the Supreme Court.

Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.