On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled on the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, and the decision was a major triumph for women's health advocates. Though the case overturned a Texas bill, the decision sets a precedent for the unconstitutionality of restricted access to abortion clinics for the entire country. This is a momentous day in legal history, yet Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump was uncharacteristically slow to comment. For any women on the fence about their presidential vote, Donald Trump's response to the SCOTUS abortion case shows exactly what his priorities are.
As a quick overview, the Supreme Court's decision overturned parts of Texas House Bill 2 (H.B. 2). In her concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that laws "like H. B. 2 that 'do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion,' cannot survive judicial inspection." Ginsburg added her opinion to Justice Stephen Breyer's majority opinion, in which he said that the bill "pos[ed] a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitut[ed] an 'undue burden' on their constitutional right to do so."
It's not hyperbolic to say that the decision is the biggest step in the abortion fight in 20 years. Twitter was abuzz with chatter about the monumental decision, and many politicians were joining the conversation. Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton was quick to tweet, "SCOTUS's decision is a victory for women in Texas and across America. Safe abortion should be a right - not just on paper, but in reality." President Obama joined in, tweeting, "Every woman has a constitutional right to make her own reproductive choices. I'm pleased to see the Supreme Court reaffirm that fact today." Even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan added his opinion. He wrote on Twitter, "I'm disappointed in the Court’s decision. But our fight to protect women’s health & promote life will not stop here." Despite all the discussion, Trump remained silent. Given his typical, unfiltered, rapid-fire brash comments, his response did not go unnoticed by his growing number of critics.
To be sure, abortion has been a sensitive subject for Trump throughout this election cycle. He's flip-flopped on the issue time and again. He's said he's anti-abortion, yet he has also shared his respect and support for the women's health and abortion provider Planned Parenthood on multiple occasions, according to CBS News. In March, during an interview on MSNBC, he said that women who have illegal abortions should face jail time. A few weeks later, he tried to take that back and said what he meant was that women shouldn't be punished, abortion providers should be. Given that platform confusion, it's not too surprising that Trump's official website doesn't advertise his position on abortion, or, for that matter, mention it at all. He's known for not having firm plans or a steady platform, but he has taken that to a new level with abortion.
Regardless of Trump's lack of response, he will not escape this discussion. The SCOTUS decision has huge repercussions, one of which will be influencing the talking points of the election going forward. Clinton has made her support of a woman's right to choose very clear, while Trump has continually obfuscated his position on the matter. On this historic day, instead of weighing in on the ruling, even if to disagree, Trump instead chose to (once again) make the point that he "called" something.
His refrain to "watch November" reads like a last gasp. Part of Trump's campaign strategy has been to appeal to the fears of Americans, so when it comes to something that gives people hope — like this court ruling — he's got nothing to say, and it's yet another example of the fact that real women's issues just don't matter to him.