tv Roe v. Wade Debate at National Constitution Center CSPAN January 1, 2020 11:59pm-12:55am EST
>> catherine colbert is the attorney who argued planned parenthood versus casey in front of the supreme court. she recently predicted the high court will overturn roe versus wade after the 2020 election. this event was held at the national constitutional center. it's one hour. >> with that, i am delighted to welcome tonight's guest for our conversation regarding whether or not the supreme court's decision in roe should be overturned. standing to my left is catherine colbert who recently retired as the constance s. williams 66 director of the center for leadership studies, professor of leadership studies and professional practice in the political science department at
barnard college. in 1992, she argued the landmark case of planned parenthood versus casey before the supreme court. since then, she has worked for different organizations such as people for the american way. mary bigler is a professor at florida state university college of law. she's a historian and has written numerous books and articles on this topic. her new book is titled "abortion in america: a legal history." and is forthcoming soon. catherine foster is president and ceo of americans united for life. in addition, she serves on the boards of the christian legal society in d.c., the family policy alliance, and the
rockville women's center. she's a fellow with the james wilson institute on national rights. join me in welcoming our panelists. [applause] we are here to discuss the future of roe. over the past year or so, there has been a number of state laws and activities about reproductive rights. some state activity has been to go far in protecting reproductive rights. other states have passed laws restricting access to abortion. mary, i will start with you because you are a historian. can you start by telling us a little bit more about what has been happening over the past year, and putting that activity in historical context? why is this happening now? what can the history of the debate tell us about what the
states are doing currently? >> what has changed -- the obvious thing is the membership of the supreme court. we now have a presumed five justice majority to overturn roe. also what you have seen is, in many states, control of all three branches of government by one party that enables legislators to pass this kind of law. what is striking is that you also see a break from the strategy that groups like aul pioneered which was to chip away at roe gradually and give what the supreme court would be expected to accept. also, restrictions that would play well on election day. and you see in a lot of states -- i live in florida,
close to alabama. you see states going further than that, more quickly than that. there are more divides about what the court is going to be willing to do. we are in a moment where there's a debate within the pro-life movement or the antiabortion movement about what the best strategy is going to be. that is in part because until now, there has been a uniform target. which was roe v. wade. we are already in a moment where we are thinking about what the world is going to look like after roe v. wade. i imagine everyone on the panel thinks that that is what coming. there will be disagreements about how and why. but i think that is a historical moment we find ourselves in. the history is helpful to realize, the goal has always been, understandably, to ban abortion. not to chip away at abortion or let states decide. but to create a right to life that would make abortion
illegal. you are starting to see, in some states, states asking for what they want and hoping that the supreme court will allow them to seek it as opposed to catering to what the justices are presumed to be willing to do or what voters are presumed to want. >> mary mentioned aul and the state level. in alabama, there was a full abortion ban that was passed when the governor signed into law the alabama human life protection act. i want to read from her signing statement. she said, no matter one's personal view on abortion, we can recognize that this may be unenforceable.
as citizens of this great country, we must respect the authority of the supreme court even when we disagree with their decisions. many americans disagreed when roe v. wade was handed down in 1973. the sponsors of the bill believe it is time for the u.s. supreme court to revisit this matter. we believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur. is that the motivation behind passing these laws? to directly ask the court to revisit that? or is it more of a chipping away, as mary mentioned? >> you can't really understand alabama without also understanding the flipside, states like new york. as you mentioned, you have a lot of people and constitutional scholars, a lot of the public looking at the makeup of the court, seeing changes there. we don't know how those play out. looking at public polling on abortion, particularly on some restrictions or protections for
women, things like informed consent and things like that. also looking at the abortion rate which is currently at the lowest it has been since before roe v. wade. also noting, more important than that, the abortion rate among unintended pregnancies. looking at the increasing percentage of women who may not have planned to get pregnant, but still are not choosing abortion. looking at all of these factors, you see that when roe v. wade is overturned, we do expect that this issue would return to the state. at that point, we would expect a certain number of states to follow a more new york type path. some will follow an alabama path.
then most states would be in the middle, passing some health and safety standards, some informed consent, some other restrictions, but not going so far in either direction. so it's not surprising that this year more than ever, states are taking a look at this and are increasingly introducing bills and passing some of these bills into law. they will, whether they go into effect once roe is overturned or provide some level of protection now, you are seeing that there's a kind of movement happening. >> you argued, casey, you were surprised at the outcome. the outcome was that the court upheld roe and that created the undue burden standard. i'm curious about your reaction to what is happening now. is it surprising a couple decades after roe and casey that there is talk about going back to the states versus staying as
a fundamental right? what is your sense of what is happening? >> in the days before casey was argued, we were in the same circumstance we are in now. which is state legislatures in those days, i was in 44 states, two years before casey, all of whom took up abortion bills. they thought the supreme court was prepared to overrule roe. same thing is happening now. at the time that casey went to the supreme court, we expected the court to overrule roe. let me be clear. they did. in the first -- you argue a case and the justices go back to their conference and they take an initial vote on the case. in casey, the initial vote was 5-4, overruling roe is the most extreme standard. that is adopting what we lawyers call the rational basis test, permitting states to do
everything including criminalization of abortion. justice kennedy at the last minute, over a month later, changed his vote when he fully understood the implications of that decision and how that affected the institutional integrity of the court. so we are now at the point where i don't think the current justices will be as brave as justice kennedy. i will fully predict, unlike my adversary here, this court is prepared to overrule roe and return the matter to the states. why do i say that? they have been very cavalier about this crisis since gorsuch joined the court. more than anything, everybody
says justice roberts is going to save the date. he was the good vote on health care reform. justice roberts is not going to save the day on abortion. he was very much a student of justice rehnquist. he was a clerk for him. he believed in rehnquist's views on most of these issues. it was justice rehnquist who wrote the opinion overruling roe. in my view, it is absolutely clear roe will be overturned. we will return to permitting states to re-criminalize abortion. the only question in my mind is when. i think this court is politically savvy and will wait until after the 2020 election to do this. ok, so what does that mean for all of us? it means the issue of abortion will return to the states. currently there are 22 states fully controlled by the republicans. what i call them trifecta states. 14 states fully controlled by the democrats. unlike the republicans, democrats don't always fall in line. it's not clear to me that there
is a pro-choice majority in those 14 states. in contrast, it seems to me there is an anti-choice majority in the 22 states. at a minimum, within a year following the overturning of roe, we will see 22 states in this country criminalize abortion or take such extreme measures that it means that abortion will be unavailable for women. the second thing that will happen is i think we will begin to see more attention to state legislatures at who becomes a state legislator. if i have one word of advice for people in this audience, if you care about abortion rights, if you care about preserving women's access to legal procedures, you have to care about who's on the state legislature. in pennsylvania, we are very close to being able to retake that by the democrats. i think we need to pay strong attention to ensure that our state legislatures are
pro-choice, are controlled by the party that is willing to enact protective legislation. >> mary, you mentioned that the timing is based around who was on the supreme court. the court has not ruled on the merits since justice kavanagh has been there. he did dissent in the june medical services case, about admitting privileges for doctors in the louisiana. was there anything about his dissent that might tell us about how he might rule? do you agree with what katie is saying in terms of the outcome? >> i don't. i can't speak for catherine. my assumption is that all of us assume that the court will eventually in form or in name overturn roe.
i don't agree that it will happen as quickly as katie is saying. i think if you can take anything away from justice kavanagh's, the court at the moment will be having its long conference in deciding whether to take to medical on the merits. this was just a decision about whether louisiana is admitting privileges law would go into effect. justice kavanagh dissented from the decision to block the law. he seized on what is one vehicle that you will see the court use. which is the undue burden test that came out of casey has always been ambiguous. even in its new form, post-2016, it's very much based on the facts on the ground. the argument in june medical was basically, the court has seen this law before. it is the law the court struck down in 2016. this is insulting the court's intelligence that we are having this conversation again.
kavanagh said, wait, the facts are different. there's not enough proof of a variety of things about abortion access. that's a logical vehicle. if there is a barrier right now or any kind of hesitation about overturning roe, it is optics and politics. it is not on substance. you would assume that the people who fit supreme court nominations are doing their job and everyone on the court thinks that roe should go. but they might be worried about doing it in a way that looks partisan or to quickly or jeopardizes the results of the 2020 election. or doing it in a way that makes the institution or themselves look bad. you can do a lot with the undue burden standard without saying anything about overturning roe. without even saying you have overturned the 2016 decision, by saying the facts on the ground are different. i would expect that that would be where we would go immediately. i don't know how long we will stay there.
there will come a point if you bring a law saying we will ban abortion at six weeks after a woman's last menstrual period because a fetal heartbeat has been detected, you can't with a straight face say that is not an undue burden under any of the court's precedents. if the court wants to let the states do what they want and not limit it, there will have to be a direct encounter with roe and casey. my reading of justice roberts and kavanagh is that that might take a while. they might prefer these sorts of -- also, harder to understand. if you are concerned about optics, it is hard to explain what's going on with that. if the goal is if you think roe is wrong and you are trying to move beyond it, you can get away toward doing that without the potential political fallout in the undue burden standard. that is what i would expect to see next. >> catherine, i'm curious
about -- there are different kinds of state legislation. the alabama law is more of a ban. the louisiana ban is a fact-based analysis about admitting privileges. i'm curious about how, if you were to challenge the alabama law, wouldn't a lower court have to apply roe and casey? they could just not hear it. it might not even get there, versus a fact-based case. it might involve a little bit more about let's look at the factors. i'm curious about how that outright ban could even make it to the supreme court. then what's your take on the fact-based analysis that justice kavanagh employed? >> sure. first of all, i wouldn't expect that an alabama-style law would
be taken up by the court in the near future. i don't think there are many legal scholars who would believe that, for a lot of reasons. i don't think it would necessarily get appealed up to that point. and i don't think that is the kind of case the court is looking for right now. we've been seeing some of the cases they have declined to hear recently. a recent per curiam on fetal remains in indiana. they're looking at these more fact-based issues. with this balancing test idea, where really any federal judge is now able to go into the facts, the sociological details looking at how the impact, the supposed impact on women, and then make a decision to
potentially strike down a law. it is going back to the idea of the supreme court, the entire federal bench, as the national abortion control board. looking at the facts of the situation rather than the constitution. rather than the precedents that they should be turning towards. we saw that in texas. i would expect that we could continue to see that going forward as courts and lower courts are trying to find a way forward. >> do you have any reaction to catherine's points? >> let me be clear here. you do not need a ban to overrule roe. any law which restricts a woman's access to abortion presents the question of what the appropriate standard by which courts will evaluate abortion laws going forward. in casey, the court could have
reduced us again to rational basis standard of review. that is lawyer-speak for allowing criminalization. in any case, whether it is a restriction or a ban, that same issue is before the court. so i don't think -- let me be clear here, i think it's really a mistake for us to believe that the debate is between regulation and total ban. either present that issue to the court, this court can use it to give states again the power to criminalize abortion. that's what we are talking about. many states will do that when given the chance. why? because they are controlled by a majority that believes that is the appropriate thing to do. and the notion that both the rule of law and moderation will prevail in this particular
political climate has gone away. many of the state legislatures that are controlled by trifecta republicans have gerrymandered seats. these are not people who care or feel in fear of losing their seats. in most of those 22 states. so they will be extreme if the political wind calls them to. the same thing with your assumption that a lower court judge is not going to go against current u.s. supreme court precedent. we have seen the most radical group of people appointed to the federal bench that we have seen in the last 25 years. these are not -- they wouldn't even discuss whether or not they thought brown v. board of education is the appropriate law of the land. so these are radical judges. they will strike down a bill or they will uphold a bill banning abortion and force it to be
appealed. and i think that we do ourselves a disservice to believe that this won't happen. and the only reason i'm so emphatic about that is because now is the time to take action. and the appropriate action to take is to start supporting state legislators who believe what you believe. whether you are against abortion or pro-choice, the question of how abortion is regulated going forward, whatever we believe, will be determined by who sits in harrisburg and in our state capital. therfore, it is our obligation to think the most dramatically. to think that this could happen. now is the time to make that change. otherwise, it is too late.
you have trifectas in 22 states. you have nine states that have trigger laws. the court reverses well -- roe, is a law in the book that says you return to the prior statue. that may not be appropriate or legal, but it will require a lot of litigation. it seems to me our best that going forward is to start taking proactive measures now. >> it sounds like there's a consensus that eventually the court is going to chip away or directly overturn, it is a matter of time. >> no, that's not what i'm saying. they chipped away in casey. they went from the highest level of constitutional text into a middle standard. they have been chipping away for 25 years. many states have two or three abortion providers. some states have only one. we are done with the days of chipping away. this court is going to take more dramatic action. >> catherine, i'm curious if you have a response to that point.
and your thoughts about the chipping away versus the complete overturning. >> sure. first of all, i don't know how quickly the court may take action on this. we do know that most years, about half of the years since roe, we have seen the court take up a case on abortion. we have seen chipping away for close to 50 years now. that really indicates how unsettled roe is. it indicates that it is unsettled for the court, that the court has to keep finding new bases to uphold the core tenants of roe. while disagreeing with the initial premise, looking at that idea of looking towards the medical history and the medical legal history. when you go back to 1990, to the
casey case, you see that the court was turning to uphold roe, turning to the alliance interests, they were trying to find a reason to uphold roe. it's hard for me to imagine since roe itself a more antifeminist decision, a more antifeminist rationale. when you look at the court saying that women can't succeed on their own, we can't succeed on a level playing field with men, that we rely upon abortion in order to compete with men in society and in the workforce, in order to succeed, in order to plan our education and careers and family and future. i can't think of a more offensive idea than that.
knowing my experience, in the case of so many women who i have counseled and comforted and represented, the decision really wasn't one of choice. that we turn to abortion believing that there was no other choice or better choice. looking at the experience itself, how, in my case and in the case of many others, our choice, our autonomy was stripped from us. and the impact it has had on our lives. i would say that it's not surprising. it's not surprising when you have legal scholars on both the left and the right criticizing roe and saying, maybe i agree with roe as a policy decision, but i don't agree with it as a constitutional matter, because it really isn't based in the constitution. there was a string of cases as
part of the precedent to decide roe. then a few pages later, he said, in fact these are all quite different cases. it's a different situation, talking about marriage versus bodily autonomy. this is a decision that legal scholars on the left and right, in so many cases, agree should be overturned. will be overtured, and we do believe that that will happen, whether that is sooner or later. >> can i take issue with that? i cannot believe -- this is the third time in the last three weeks i have been confronted with this view, that it's not appropriate to recognize the right to make childbearing decisions as part of our constitution. our constitution has had a long and distinguished history of giving both decisional autonomy and bodily integrity and protecting those rights by the highest level of constitutional
protection. yes, you are right, there has been whittling away. but it seems to me, the millions of dollars being spent by the evangelical and catholic church, spent trying to denigrate and take away the rights of women contributed to that. you did a good job, i will give you that. you did a good job. and we were not sufficiently vigilant to protect what we think is important recognition within our constitution. but to say that it is a illegitimate or not recognized or not appropriate to recognize the most fundamental right, to make decisions about your family, who you marry, whether you have sex, who you have sex with, whether or not you have a pregnancy and you want to carry it to term, or you want to terminate the pregnancy, whatever those decisions are, it seems to me they are fundamentally protected by the u.s. constitution.
they ought to continue to be so. [applause] >> mary, i wanted to ask a prior question going beyond the mechanics about how roe may or may not be overturned. during the justice kavanaugh hearings, roe was a huge issue. it was brought up multiple times. on the one side, you have state legislators and governors who basically did not accept e as lot of the land and are continuing to challenge it. that strikes me as questioning the supreme court in a way. on the other side, you have critics of kavanaugh questioning the confirmation process and the legitimacy of the supreme court as a result.
so if there were to be a decision this term or next term, striking down roe or chipping away at it, could that lead to or contribute to criticisms of the court's legitimacy in any way? >> it's a lose-lose. >> it's a lose-lose. we are a point where anything the court does about abortion will be perceived as political. and i think if you are someone like justice roberts, who wants to be the hero of the story, it would be appealing to do nothing or to do very little, or do things in a way that people don't understand. really. if people are calling me in the media saying, what happened? that is a win. the undue burden test was that. people don't know what it was. i think if the court overturns
roe, and they say they are overturning roe, that could be politically costly for the court. there is lots of polling suggesting people want abortion to remain legal. polling makes it sound conflicted. americans seem to like some abortion restrictions. many don't, but many do. when you get into the legality or criminalization questions, people seem to think that roe should remain the law. the clearer the court is about what the court is doing. the other thing we haven't talked about is, there is a remote possibility that the court will at some point recognize a right to life, which would result in nationwide criminalization. i don't think that is on the tables in. -- on the tables soon. there is some reason to think that should happen. has interest in national law arguments that would lend themselves to
recognizing right to life. i wouldn't be surprised. i'm the person thinking that it's going to take a while to get to overturning roe. i'm not saying that's going to happen tomorrow, but that's another question, too. that would be very controversial as well. i think that's probably the single biggest variable in terms of predicting what the court will do and when. the courts probably worried that there could be a backlash, especially if they do something, kind of a very clear clarence thomas style opinion overturning roe. i think that is probably the only thing that would either slow down the train -- i think there's a real possibility that that will happen. it's also worth saying, occasionally, people will ask, when will this be over? the answer is never. right? if roe is overturned, you will see a kind of reverse of what happened when roe came down.
you have the antiabortion movement defending a precedent . you have the abortion-rights movement attacking the president in court. the fight will come down to each state. many states are in the middle. florida is the ultimate swing state. there will be huge fights in places like florida. there will be fights in states like alabama. this wasn't consequential before. legislators in alabama said simply, this is a vehicle to test roe. we are not serious about enforcing this. but i think we will expect to see the conflict and testify, deescalate,, not regardless of what happens. >> what is your take on the legitimacy issue with respect to roe? and whatwas issued will happen if roe is struck down? how will that affect the courts legitimacy? -- the court's legitimacy? >> we have seen legal scholars on both sides question the legitimacy of roe. i think the clearest perspective on that recently has come from justice thomas, in one section
1983 case relating to patients sue.tients' right to in his dissent, the court decided not to hear the case, and he said the court should have. he spoke very clearly to his colleagues on the bench, saying, if this case weren't about abortion, if it were about any other matter, then we would have taken this case up. if one of the parties in the case wasn't named planned parenthood, we would've taken it up. and i think that that could be written to anybody on the court. because this is a case that should have been heard. and we need consistency, and that idea of, who could a patient -- when can a patient sue? and have a choice of medical provider.
and the fact that the court didn't take that case is quite symptomatic of the court's current stance on abortion. and not having taken up some of these current cases. you know, we don't know when the court will take up a case again. on average as of a couple of years ago, the court takes a case on abortion every 2.5 years or so. and so, we do expect that there will be something soon. but we don't know exactly when that will be. >> let me address the legitimacy question. as a lawyer, as a citizen, as somebody who cares deeply about the constitution, i am extremely -- thatd for not only not only is the confirmation process for justices and the continued feel that the justices are partisan in many of the renderings, their willingness to overturn precedent very
-- inerly and some of the some of the most recent cases, all undermine the legitimacy of the court. and the legitimacy of our justice system is the most important aspect of what preserves our democracy. the judiciary is that balance, is that check on the other two branches of government. and so, we need a court that is not only legitimate in fact, but is perceived to be legitimate, as well. until we return to a system in which partisanship and rancor and talent is recognized in who -- and frankly, just talent, is recognized in who is being appointed to the court of this country, we are going to be in trouble. i think that is really problematic. it is not surprising to me, given how many norms constitutionally are challenged and have been pushed to the limit by the current
administration and other things that have gone on in the last 10 years. but i think that legitimacy of the court is really important. i just want to say one more thing. i can't be up here now tonight without recognizing the historic nature of today that has nothing to do with abortion. but -- [applause] for those of you who don't know, nancy pelosi announced the house will begin impeachment inquiry. -- begin an impeachment inquiry. that is a historic event in our nation. and we need a legitimate court to be able to handle what is going to go forward, not only around that issue, but about many, many other issues going forward. frankly, abortion is the least of it in many cases. you know? i would love to think my issue is the most important.
but frankly, when we are talking about democracy, maybe that's more important than even abortion. [applause] >> thank you. actually tomorrow, the constitution center is doing an event at the atlantic festival over the battle for the constitution, and we will have representative adam schiff there and we will be talking about this issue. i want to get to more questions before we wrap up. we will see how many more we can do. why do you think abortion is such a salient political and constitutional issue in america? >> it is complicated. in part, there are people on both sides with sincere and really profound convictions. i don't think -- i think some of those are driven by morality and some of those are driven by personal experience and some are german by religion.
they are not going to change anytime soon. the other reason i think the sister was because we have a political system where parties have aligned, there is an identifiably pro-life and anti-pro-life party. once it happened, you had parties in some ways reinforcing existing social and political divisions about abortion for their own political gain. quite often, if you speak to people in europe, they will be puzzled about why abortion politics in america is why the way it is. -- is the way it is. some of it is because american politics has centered on abortion in a way that is particular unique. >> i think it is all about equality. i don't think it's about a procedure rebel. it's about that some people in our nation believe that women ought not to control decisions about having children. and frankly, decisions about
their lives in many ways. t-- to me, misogyny is the unspoken part of it. if we are talking about a medical procedure, one of the safest medical procedures in the nation, we would not be having this debate. >> what do you think about such an issue? >> i would agree misogyny is a huge problem in america. we see that through so many of our systems. that is something that we fight against everyday. you know, the fact that we have to go to the supreme court to try to defend the rights of pregnant individuals. young v. ups, for example. it's a situation where we do have to fight every day for our rights. that said, that's not why i'm here. i'm here because i have this experience.
i know how it impacted me. i'm here because i know that a society that says that i can't compete with a man without having legal access to abortion, that's a society that needs to change. i'm not the one -- women are not the ones who need to change here. if we cannot both have children, be pregnant, and simultaneously fully participate in society, fully participate in every aspect of our communities and our society and our nation, that is a nation that needs to reevaluate. and start developing new ways for women to fully engage in our communities. >> ok. i will start with you for this one. what happened during the
madeonth period that justice kennedy change his mind? >> i don't know. i talked to a number of clerks who worked for him. i think twofold. one is, once justice rehnquist wrote the opinion and understood fully that full criminalization would have been permitted, he began to rethink how that would play in america. and i think it all comes down to his concern about the institutional integrity of the court. and if nothing more, justice kennedy was always concerned with that and didn't want the court to be perceived as a body that would change based on who appointed a particular justice. the rule of law was important. -- that the rule of law was important. and it clearly, under the current rules that were applicable at the time of casey, there was no reason to change
the law unless you abandoned those basic principles. so i think that's at the heart of it. the rules also, i think, justice o'connor, who was very key in being able to help him through that. and her view, i think, was she adopted the undue burden test. the joint opinion in casey was a much more protective undue burden test the justice o'connor -- than justice o'connor had previously adopted. for her, it really was an understanding of what some women, particularly battered women, were going through when they faced and intended pregnancy. -- unintended pregnancy. and that point of view, her concentration on the facts, helped us understand that there are some circumstances in which criminalization would have been bad. >> mary, given the current composition of the court and the
fact that this administration might have the third pick, has -- how significant is the 2020 election to the future of roe? -- and casey? >> i think it is still significant. one of the things we're talking about is the legitimacy of the court. there have been a lot of proposals about changing the court. right? people have talked about term limits, people have talked about court packing. clarence thomas might -- you know, it's always significant. it's not as significant, obviously, as anthony kennedy. i call a lot of my courses the anthony kennedy farewell tour. because he was the deciding vote on everything. right? and so, his departure was major in a way that almost nothing else could be. but i think it is still significant, in part because we are talking so much about what the basic structure of the court should look like. and in no small part, to the because ofe of --
decisions like roe. it's also significant insofar as the court may be reading tea leaves about whether this issue matters to people. if we are talking about the court's potential angst about public perception to a decision, -- reception to a decision, if abortion is clearly a major issue in the 2020 election, that sends a different message. there are many many issues. people are not as focused on abortion. if they are not focus on it at all, that might not send the same signal to the court. >> catherine, is it possible to mention a decrease in the number of abortions without talking about access to contraception? birth control, iud's, those sorts of issues? >> sure. there are many, many reasons why the abortion rate has decreased in america. obviously, the cdc and other entities have been analyzing those. they include things like contraceptives. they include some of the laws that have been put into place, they include things like
resources for pregnant women. some of the centers that are out there, some of the governmental resources we provide today that perhaps we didn't provide always in prior decades. just a number of different ways in which we are increasingly reaching out to women and walking them through what can be a difficult and scary process. and so as we improve that, as we improve our community support and governmental support, we are seeing increasingly -- as women similarly, as we see scientific and medical advances, things etc., womenunds, are increasingly able to pursue other avenues. whether it is printing, whether it is placing a child in a home for adoption, or any of the other options.
as well as preventing pregnancy. >> our institute has looked at this very clearly. -- fairly carefully. number ofthe lowest abortions. they are not able to say what the reason is. i agree with you on that. but i have to tell you that i think increased access to contraception and the availability of contraception under obamacare and the expansion of medicaid in many states, giving women more access to family planning, is a big contributor along with the fact that there is fewer women of childbearing age post baby-boom. -- post the baby-boom. but i think the important part here is that the current administration has just gone backwards on all of this. they have enacted the gag rule. they are reducing women's access to contradict that
-- access to contraception. they are reducing funding for planned parenthood. however you read the data, if you eliminate contraception to young women in america, you are going to increase abortions. whether legal or illegal. we have an obligation to make sure that doesn't happen. >> we only have a couple of minutes left. and there are so many more questions i wish we could get to. i want to close with one final question. the actual topic for debate. the question is, should roe v. wade be overturned? >> oh, boy. as the historian on the panel, i feel bad answering this question. i don't think so. but i think there is also -- like i said, i think this is going to be an endless process. so i think in some ways, it's the only comforting message of -- if you don't want it to be overturned, it's not going to be over. so, you know, roe v. wade --
there will be more of this to come. if you recall, after roe, there was a sense of complacency among the winners and a sense of people being fired up when they lost. i think that will be a historical moment we find ourselves in very soon. there are perils to winning. that is a lesson of history. >> catherine? same question to you. should roe versus wade be overturned? >> it should be overturned. it is a decision that is not yet settled. we have seen that in the abortion cases through the subsequent decades. we have seen that in the opinions of legal scholars and we have seen that in the movement of americans who oppose abortion and are continuing to fight back on this. we see that in all of the states where women and men are proposing and passing bills that would roll back roe v. wade,
that would provide increased protections for women, that would in so many ways take away from that rogue regime of unlimited abortion. -- roe regime of unlimited abortion. it should be overturned because it isn't firmly based in the constitution, as we have seen from so many of these legal scholars, who have said that believe what you will about policy elements. this is not a decision that finds its moorings in the constitution. and so, i do expect that it will be overturned sooner or later. >> kitty, last word. should roe versus wade be overturned? >> no. [laughter] you know, for a couple of reasons. first of all, i think it is very firmly and well-rounded in our constitutional jurisprudence. there is no doubt in my mind about that. and every court that has looked
at that question for the last 50 years has agreed with that. to say it's not firmly based in the constitution is just wrong. but more importantly, why shouldn't it be overturned? because it seems to me, fundamental questions about whether you have children or you don't, whether you are sexual, whether you are not, whether you marry and who you marry, ought to be left to the individual and not the state. and if you take that away from people, the biggest impact is that poor women, young women, women of color, women who live in rural areas, who live in states which have fewer resources are going to suffer serious health consequences. some of those women will die. thankfully, not as many women will die today as they did in the days before roe. but women will die if you read -- if you recriminalize abortion. that, to me, is an abomination and should never happen in our current society. we must take every step we can to ensure that women have access to safe and legal medical procedures.
[applause] >> thank you so much. kitty, mary, catherine, thank you so much for being here tonight. and thank you all for coming. [applause] announcer: c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. morning, ahursday discussion on efforts to combat climate change. then, adam wilson talks about the challenges facing law enforcement in the u.s.. and, the state of police community relations. watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern
thursday morning. join the discussion. c-span's live campaign 2020 coverage continues. live thursday at 1:30 p.m. eastern, democratic presidential candidate senator cory booker from the university of new hampshire law school. watch live on c-span, online at c-span.org, or listen live on the free c-span radio app. on friday, the dc circuit court of appeals will hear two cases. the first on whether don mcgahn needs to comply with a congressional subpoena to testify, and the second on congress's access to the mueller grand jury testimony. oral argument begins at 9:30 a.m. eastern. we will have those live on c-span2. >> normally, what would happen is there would be a team of
helicopters helping each other and supporting each other to make sure that they were safe. but because there was no one else there and it had to be done, donald decided he would rescue those men. so he went down into these landing zone areas and he hovered on the ground for four minutes waiting for the reconnaissance team to arrive there. which is, in a battle condition, an attorney. it is a very long time to be sitting vulnerable to the enemy. but he waited. the reconnaissance team arrived, injured, but safe. they boarded the helicopter. o'donnell began to pull the helicopter above the tree line. he radioed, "i have everyone. i am coming up." announcer: daniel weiss, on his book "in that time." about a soldier who went missing and i should during the vietnam war. sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. the impeachment of president
trump. continue to follow the process on c-span leading to a senate trial. live unfiltered coverage on c-span on demand at c-span.org/impeachment, and listen on the free c-span radio app. >> will all senators now stand and raise your right hand? >> do you solemnly swear that in all things about the william everson clinton, president of the united states, no pending -- now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws, so help you god? the clerk will call the names and record the responses. >> it was january 7, 1999 and from the floor of the u.s. senate, the trial against president bill clinton. joining us here in our studios is alexis simmon. we had never seen anything like this before. the last trial was in the 1860's.