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Mike Pence asks Supreme Court to overturn landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision

·2-min read
Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses the GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in June (Getty Images)
Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses the GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in June (Getty Images)

Mike Pence has urged the Supreme Court to overturn a landmark case that legalised abortion in the United States.

The former US Vice President said Roe v Wade 1973 was “a misguided decision” that harmed millions of unborn babies.

Judges on Wednesday will hear arguments on whether to uphold a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks.

The ban offers limited exceptions and includes abortions on pregnancies from rape or incest.

“We are asking the court in no uncertain terms to make history,” Mr Pence said during a speech in Washington.

“We are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v Wade and restore the sanctity of life at the centre of American law.”

So far, the law has not been enforced due to a legal challenge from the state’s only abortion provider.

A decision is expected by next summer and will decide the future of abortion access across the country.

It means states might gain control of their own abortion laws but a nationwide ban is not on the current horizon.

Arguments at the Supreme Court represent the best opportunity leaders on the right have had in decades to gut the 1973 case.

Pro-choice: Activists rally as the Supreme court hears the controversial 2016 Texas abortion access case (EPA)
Pro-choice: Activists rally as the Supreme court hears the controversial 2016 Texas abortion access case (EPA)

Pro life leaning

Even if judges do not overturn Roe, they could open the door to a flurry of new restrictions that would please the right.

Buoyed by a court that is now dominated by a six to three conservative majority, some leading Republicans were already expressing confidence on Tuesday.

The court is also weighing challenges to a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Judges are to decide whether to uphold current precedent, let the law stand, or overturn Roe entirely.

“This is the first time that they have clearly had a majority of pro-life-leaning justices,” said Columbia Law School’s Carol Sanger, an expert in reproductive rights.

“So they have the votes if they choose to use them.”

Roe’s demise would likely prompt at least 20 Republican-led states to impose sweeping bans.

A possible 15 Democratic-governed states would reaffirm support for abortion access.

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