This comes after U.S. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had voted to uphold Roe in 1992, announced his retirement last week, creating, what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called, the most important high court vacancy “in our lifetimes.”
After his retirement announcement, many anti-abortion activists took to social media to celebrate, calling it “the beginning of the end for abortion.”
Trump is picking from a list of 25 potential nominees for the position, and the likely conservative choice could provide the fifth vote needed to overturn the 1973 landmark ruling that affirmed women’s right to abortion in the U.S.
But Trump’s nominee must win Senate confirmation — and most likely before the midterm election in November. Republicans control the chamber by only a slim majority, making the views of moderates and some Democrats, imperative.
WATCH: White House says Trump won’t talk to Supreme Court nominees about Roe v. Wade
Trump pledged to appoint ‘pro-life’ justices
When Trump ran for president in 2016, he pledged to appoint “pro-life” justices to the Supreme Court.
“If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that’s really what’s going to be, that’s what will happen,” Trump said at the final presidential debate in October 2016. “And that will happen automatically in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”
His running mate and now vice-president, Mike Pence, who is also a staunch pro-lifer, said he hoped to see Roe. v. Wade end up on the “ash heap of history, where it belongs.”
WATCH: Trump says he will appoint pro-life judges to Supreme Court, may overturn Roe v. Wade
When Pence was governor of Indiana, he signed a bill that would require women to hold funerals for their aborted or miscarried fetuses. A federal judge later blocked the legislation.
‘Roe V. Wade is doomed’
Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s chief legal analyst told the media outlet that in a little more than a year, 20 states will pass laws banning abortion.
“Because they know that there are now going to be five votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. And abortion will be illegal in a significant part of the United States in 18 months. There is just no doubt about that,” he said.
“Roe v. Wade is doomed, it is gone because Donald Trump won the election,” Toobin added.
However, some legal experts aren’t as sure.
Gillian Metzger, professor, Columbia Law School, told Vox that she expects Kennedy’s departure will impact the status of Roe v. Wade, though she does not expect the Supreme Court will overturn it immediately.
“Instead, I expect we’ll see more incremental pullback, at least initially. But in practice, it will become even more difficult, and in some states practically impossible, for women to exercise the right recognized in Roe and Casey of making the ultimate choice of whether or not to bear a child,” she said.
What happens if the Supreme Court overturns Roe?
If the Supreme Court overturns or severely weakens Roe v. Wade, it will be up to the states to regulate abortion, Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, said in an interview with Mic.
“Either an overturning or an undercutting of Roe would mean that states have much more leeway in enacting restrictions on abortion to the extent that it could even make abortion virtually impossible to get, even if Roe isn’t completely overturned,” she said.
Four states — Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota — already have “trigger bans” in place, which is legislation that automatically outlaws abortion in the state the instant Roe is overturned.
Three other states – Arkansas, Missouri and North Dakota – have “statements of policy,” which announce their intention to ban abortion if and when it’s federally legal to do so.
In an interview on Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures last weekend, Trump said the abortion issue could end up being decided at the state level. “Well, maybe someday it will be to the states. You never know how that’s going to turn out,” the president said.
WATCH: Norma McCorvey, plaintiff in Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, dies at 69
Abortion-rights supporters nervous
Krasnoff said abortion-rights advocates also will be lobbying senators to vote against any nominee seen as likely to overturn Roe.
“President Trump and Mitch McConnell hold the balance of the court in their hands right now. And with it, they hold the right to safe and legal abortion,” Krasnoff said. “So we’re going to be getting that message out and making sure that the Senate rejects any nominee that opposes Roe v. Wade and the right to safe, legal abortion.”
After Kennedy announced his retirement June 27, Planned Parenthood also released a statement.
“The right to access abortion in this country is on the line,” Dawn Laguens, the group’s executive vice-president said. “The idea of Trump having his choice to fill another vacancy is terrifying for not only abortion rights, but for our ability to live free from discrimination in this country.”
— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press