In recent weeks, anti-abortion-rights groups have reiterated their belief that Donald Trump is the most “pro-life president in history.” It’s not hard to see what they mean. Trump has tried to defund Planned Parenthood, gut contraceptive coverage, overhaul the federal judiciary, and increase abortion restrictions. The president has given his supporters a new conservative Supreme Court majority. But Monday’s Supreme Court decision in June Medical Services v. Russo is a sign that Trump has undermined the anti-abortion-rights movement—though not in the way many might suspect.
In the case, Roberts concurred with his liberal colleagues to strike down a Louisiana law that required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, citing his respect for precedent—the Court had invalidated an almost identical law out of Texas four years earlier. Some conservatives see the decision as just one more piece of evidence that Trump needs to do more to deliver a conservative Supreme Court. It followed an opinion earlier this month by Neil Gorsuch, a Trump nominee, holding that federal civil-rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. True, today the Court gave religious conservatives a win on the separation of Church and state, striking down a Montana policy that the majority said discriminated against religious schools and families. But conservatives still seem angry. Not long before the Court issued its abortion decision, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri went so far as to demand a guarantee that future GOP nominees to the bench will provide conservative results.