ACLU Announces Plan to Combat Nationwide Abortion Ban and Other Attacks on Reproductive Health Care Under a Second Trump Term

The memo continues the ACLU’s 2024 election policy memo series exploring likely policies from a potential Trump or Biden second term.

June 25, 2024 9:30 am

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NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union released the Trump on Abortion memo today, a roadmap to fight back against the broad range of attacks on abortion and other reproductive health care that would come with a possible second administration of President Donald Trump. The release of the memo coincides with the two year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Trump promised to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and he did just that. The Trump court’s decision to abolish abortion rights has decimated abortion access throughout much of the country. The Trump on Abortion memo describes how that devastation would increase exponentially should Trump become president again and outlines how the ACLU and its nationwide network of attorneys and advocates will respond in the courts, Congress, and communities across the country.

“Trump appointed the justices who overturned Roe v. Wade, resulting in millions of people losing the right to abortion. A second term would make things exponentially worse,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Trump's allies are quietly promising to twist a law from 1873 to ban abortion nationwide, even in states where it is protected today. We will continue to expose their scheme and won't let them pull the wool over voters’ eyes. And should Trump return to the White House, we will be there every step of the way to galvanize efforts to stop him and to fight him in court wherever possible.”

“Trump and the anti-abortion politicians supporting him told us they wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade, then they did, leaving millions of people without access. Now they want to ban abortion in all 50 states, and they’ve told us exactly how they plan to do it — by misusing a law from 1873 as a backdoor national abortion ban,” said Madison Roberts, senior legislative counsel for reproductive freedom, ACLU. “This threat is serious. We will continue working with members of Congress to prevent Trump from misusing the outdated Comstock Act as a national abortion ban and to pass legislation that safeguards abortion access nationwide.”

Based on Trump’s own campaign promises – and the detailed policy proposals of his anti-abortion strategists, including Project 2025 – a second Trump administration would attack abortion rights even further in the following ways:

  • Misusing the Comstock Act to Ban Abortion Nationwide: Trump’s allies have made clear that if Trump is reelected, he will attempt to misuse a 150-year-old anti-obscenity statute called the Comstock Act to create a backdoor ban on all abortions nationwide without any need for congressional action.
  • Directing Attacks on Medication Abortion: A second Trump administration would order the FDA to revoke the approval of mifepristone, denying access to the safe and effective medication, which is currently used in most abortions, in every state in the country.
  • Targeting Birth Control Access: Trump and anti-abortion politicians in Congress would continue to threaten access to birth control by trying to defund the nation’s family planning program and taking away people’s rights to insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act.

The ACLU’s roadmap released today outlines our plan to defend our right to reproductive health care against these attacks:

  • Litigation challenging attempts to further erode access to reproductive health care. Lawsuits filed by the ACLU and others have prevented abortion bans from going into place in a half dozen states and stopped care from being heavily restricted in others. The ACLU will continue fighting in courtrooms to prevent the dangerous attacks from the Trump administration, including attempts to ban abortion nationwide by misusing the Comstock Act and to remove mifepristone from the shelves.
  • Heading off attacks on reproductive freedom in Congress. The ACLU and our allies have been working tirelessly to remedy the harms of the first Trump administration with the ultimate goal of enacting federal legislation ensuring access to abortion throughout the country. The ACLU is working alongside members of Congress on legislation to prevent the misuse of the Comstock Act and to safeguard the right to contraception and to access IVF, and will mobilize in response to attacks should anti-abortion politicians control Congress and the White House.
    • Working with state officials to enact proactive protections. The ACLU is working with state officials to enact protections against Trump’s planned attacks against people providing, seeking, and assisting with reproductive health care. We are also calling on state officials to expand their “shield laws” to prevent state employees from voluntarily assisting federal officials carrying out Trump’s assault on abortion.
  • Mobilizing support for abortion rights. Building on an undefeated track record on abortion ballot measures, the ACLU and our state affiliates are actively engaged in eight 2024 ballot initiative efforts to enshrine abortion rights in state constitutions – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, and New York.

The Trump on Abortion memo marks the third of seven the ACLU is releasing. Topics include immigration, LGBTQ rights, abortion, criminal legal system, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), voting rights, and surveillance, protest, and free speech. Following its focus on policies of a potential second Trump administration, the ACLU will focus on those of a potential second Joe Biden administration. New memos will be released through August and available here.

Marking the two-year anniversary of the decision overturning Roe, the ACLU also joined leading reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations today to unveil the Abortion Access Now campaign, pledging a $100 million investment to advance abortion rights and access. Visit for more information.

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