The retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy couldn’t have come at a worse time. With midterm elections set to take place in November, the Senate and its 51-49 Republican majority will try to force through a conservative-leaning candidate nominated by Donald Trump for the vacated Supreme Court seat in the next few months. Considering their ability to check the power of the president, the Court cannot afford to have another judge who will strongly side with Trump’s decisions, especially after his successful appointment of Neil Gorsuch last April. 

What made Kennedy’s retirement more disconcerting was that even though he skewed conservative, there were times where he wasn’t afraid to break away from party norms. His vote would occasionally serve as the difference between an issue going in one direction or another. Another Trump appointee will leave Republicans feeling empowered that their laws will not be knocked down by the Supreme Court for decades to come.

One of the main concerns regarding Kennedy’s departure was whether the Supreme Court could eventually reverse the legalization of abortions across the country which was established by Roe v. Wade in 1973. In an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, Trump claimed that any potential nominee's stance on the landmark decision wouldn’t factor into their nomination. Then, Trump hinted at the idea of leaving abortion laws up to the states. “Maybe someday it will be to the states, you never know how that’s going to turn out,” he said. “That’s a very complex question.”

Trump doubled down on his problematic perspective, suggesting that states would be in charge of deciding their own abortion laws down the road. “The Roe v. Wade is probably the one that people are talking about in terms of having an effect,” he said, per Time. “But we’ll see what happens, but it could very well end up with states at some point.” 

If the decision is left up to individual states, there will be large numbers of women unable to get abortions, regardless of the circumstances that resulted in their pregnancy. It’s disheartening and scary, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight as hard as possible to make sure that Kennedy’s replacement is appointed fairly.