Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the 77-year-old two-time cancer survivor and nearly 17 year veteran of the high court, made an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week and expressed optimism about the future of Roe v. Wade.
"Over a generation of young women have grown up, understanding they can control their own reproductive capacity, and in fact their life's destiny," Ginsburg told a crowd during the public interview moderated by legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen. "We will never go back to the way it once was."
Ginsburg, who in the past has evoked worry among abortion activists for her skepticism of the durability of Roe v. Wade's majority decision, maintained that the 1973 ruling was not as divisive a debate as it has since become, and argued that any change to the decision would only hurt disadvantaged women.
"It wasn't all that controversial. It was a 7 to 2 decision with only two dissenters," Ginsburg said. But if the Supreme Court decides to strip parts of Roe v. Wade, "there won't be any real change for anyone in this audience or any daughters of anyone in this audience," Ginsburg continued. "The only women who would be truly affected are poor women. Because even at the time before Roe, women who wanted abortions could have a safe, legal abortion...Women could travel from one state to another and didn't have to go to Japan or Cuba...Whatever the court may do, it's only the poor women who will suffer. When people realize that, maybe they will have a different attitude."
Last month, Bill Clinton's former acting Solicitor General, Walter Dellinger, argued that the state of Roe v. Wade was much more tenuous, and predicted that the monumental abortion ruling would actually be overturned sometime soon.
"I absolutely believe it," Dellinger said of the potential abortion reversal at a forum cosponsored by Politico in June.