Christian right and Trump have a problem. They keep winning on abortion — legally

Rashmee Roshan Lall
3 min readApr 13, 2024
Photo: Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

The Christian right — and Donald Trump — have a problem. They keep winning — legally. But winning legally on abortion access is a losing issue with voters, particularly suburban women, come November.

Florida and Arizona are the two most recent instances of courts pushing hardline positions on abortion, ones that might ordinarily be cheered by Mr Trump, Trumpy Republicans and evangelical Christians.

In Florida, a supreme court ruling cleared the way for a six-week abortion ban, which will cut off access to the procedure before many women even know they are pregnant. In Arizona, the state Supreme Court upheld a 1864 law banning almost all abortions.

The genealogy of these rulings is clear. They spring from the June 2022 decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn the Roe vs Wade right to abortion. And that came about because Mr Trump was eager to keep his 2016 campaign promise to appoint US Supreme Court justices who would rescind the nationwide right to abortion. As Joe Biden’s vice-president, Kamala Harris, told a campaign rally in Tucson, Arizona on Friday (April 12): “Donald Trump did this”.

He did.
On Friday, Mr Trump acknowledged he broke Roe vs Wade.

He did.

In legal terms, the Christian right and Mr Trump have been remarkably successful. Alarmingly so, in terms of what it does to Republicans’ chances of winning elections.

The overturning of Roe vs Wade was the major reason that Republicans failed to do well in the November 2022 midterm elections. Referendums on abortion rights in red states such as Kentucky and Kansas overwhelmingly rejected sweeping restrictions, thereby damaging Republican prospects at the ballot box. Last year, the Republican Party failed in its attempt to retake control of the Virginia state legislature by promising a “compromise” 15 week-ban.

In Arizona, Republicans seem to fear a similar electoral debacle, which is why politicians with a track record of opposing abortion are denouncing the court-decreed near-total ban and calling for a more moderate option.

Off and on, Mr Trump, progenitor of the original legal reversal of national abortion rights, has tried to disown any DNA match. He has criticised the Arizona law and suggested state legislators would “bring it back into reason”. So too Florida’s six-week ban, which he said was “probably, maybe going to change”.

One adverb is bad enough. Two is dismal. Mr Trump’s qualifiers on his hopes for the Florida court ruling are only one aspect of the increasingly strange figure he cuts — like someone with whiplash, like a man with St Vitus’ dance, he is twitching and convulsing as he chops and changes position, his gait uncoordinated as he flails about.

His task is to move through the thicket of Republican expectations of winning elections without getting trouser bottoms caught in the thick ground cover of Christian right beliefs.

But since 2022, Americans have been beset by a range of reproductive-health restrictions depending on where they live even though polling shows that most support legal access to abortion in some form. And by last summer, some 25 million women were living in states where abortions had become harder to get.

Voters can be relied upon to notice this sort of thing.

No one said winning (in court) is easy.

Originally published at



Rashmee Roshan Lall

PhD. Journalism by trade & inclination. Writer. My novel 'Pomegranate Peace' is about my year in Afghanistan. I teach journalism at university in London