WASHINGTON – Evangelicals are hopeful that with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Donald Trump's second Supreme Court nominee is not only pro-life but will fight to overturn Roe v. Wade.
A conservative justice would give the high court a 5-4 majority in favor of backtracking on abortion rights.
Conservative lawyers don't expect justices would go for a sudden and complete reversal of Roe v. Wade, but that they would first revisit other court decisions like Planned Parenthood v. Casey or Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt.
In Hellerstedt, the case focused on intrusive abortion clinic regulations in Texas, and the court ruled 5-3 that the Lone Star State can't enact restrictions on the delivery of abortion services.
The Supreme Court could start with that case and reverse the ruling, which could force abortion clinics out of business.
That reversal could establish groundwork to tackle the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
The high court could also take a different route and declare that a fetus is a "person," which wouldn't allow states to provide abortions under the 14th Amendment.
Congress has already proposed a 20-week ban after conception, but the measure was blocked by the Senate.
Lawmakers argued exceptions need to be made in instances where pregnancy puts the life and health of a woman at risk.
It's clear overturning Roe v. Wade is not a one-way street and would take maneuvering state laws to ban abortions nationwide.