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National abortion rights threatened by new US Supreme Court appointment

Anti-abortion activists are “optimistic” the death of a liberal Supreme court justice will mean the reversal of more than 40 years of laws around abortion in the United States. Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week, Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of anti-abortion organisation the Susan B. Anthony List said she thinks the…

Anti-abortion activists are “optimistic” the death of a liberal Supreme court justice will mean the reversal of more than 40 years of laws around abortion in the United States.

Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week, Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of anti-abortion organisation the Susan B. Anthony List said she thinks the appointment of a pro-life Justice could be a turning point in reversing the Roe v Wade decision that legalised abortion in 1973.

In the US, the landmark Roe v Wade decision ruled the US Constitution protects a woman’s right to have an abortion. But changes in the Supreme Court could lead to the decision being “overturned” or “eroded”, says Ms Dannenfelser.

“No matter who you are, you feel the ground shaking underneath,” Ms Dannenfelser told The New York Times podcast The Daily on Wednesday. “I’m feeling very optimistic for the mission that our organisation launched 25 years ago.”

And the US appears to be on course to rush through a new conservative Supreme Court justice, days after the death of Justice Ginsberg.

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Ms Dannenfelser, who formed an alliance with Donald Trump in 2016 before he was elected, said the first commitments they asked for from the President were “pro life Supreme Court justices”.

“We wanted to be very clear that means they take a position on abortion that is in alignment with our own,” she said. “There was also a commitment to protect the Hyde Amendment, meaning no taxpayer (can) fund an abortion.

“Also defunding and reallocating Planned Parenthood funding to other qualified health centres.”

The organisation also asked the President for a bill against abortions after five months of pregnancy.

Ms Dannenfelser said during the interview she believes with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Roe v Wade will be either “overturned” or “eroded so it’s not as applicable”.

“The only laws that will pass will then be the laws that can be sustained by the majority of those states.”

She said she believes then “people’s opinions” will be better able to make their way through into different state’s laws.

After some dissent from senators within the Republican party over whether a new justice should be named before or after the upcoming Presidential election, it appears the path has now been cleared for Mr Trump to push through the appointment of a new conservative justice to replace Ms Ginsburg.

The appointment would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the court.

The woman tipped to take the vacant seat is Amy Coney Barrett, 48, an appeals court judge, a devout Catholic, and a mother of seven children.

Ms Barrett met with Mr Trump this week, and has already been criticised by Democratic politicians for her views on abortion and same sex-marriage. The judge defended herself, saying she’d “never impose my own personal convictions on the law”.

Mr Trump is also due to meet with another potential candidate, Barbara Lagoa, 52, an appeals judge based in Miami.

If the President successfully makes the appointment it will be his third supreme court appointment during his presidency and tip the court 6:3 towards the conservatives.

During Barack Obama’s second term, Republicans refused to consider the then president’s own nomination nine months out from the election.

– With wires

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