Former US Vice-President Mike Pence has called on the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade case that legalised abortion in the US.
Mr Pence said the ruling was “a misguided decision” that harmed millions of unborn babies.
If Roe v Wade is quashed, millions of women would lose access to abortions.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. A ruling is expected by next summer.
The ban includes abortions on pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
The law, however, has not been enforced because of a legal challenge from the state’s only abortion provider.
At a news conference in Washington DC on Tuesday, Mr Pence said he hoped the Supreme Court will “make history” with a full reversal of Roe v Wade.
“We are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v Wade and restore the sanctity of human life to the centre of American law,” the former vice-president said.
Additionally, Mr Pence argued that the “fiat of unelected judges” is not reflective of popular opinion in the US.
He believes elected, state-level officials are better placed to write abortion laws for their own jurisdictions.
A nationwide ban on abortions is not on the horizon, but states might be given control over their own abortion laws.
Such a move would be “devastating” for low-income women, Katherine Franke, director of the center for gender and sexuality law at Columbia University, tells the BBC.
It would increase maternal mortality and poverty, she adds.
The US is one of seven of the world’s countries that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Washington Post.
“America has more in common with China and North Korea as it relates to abortion than many of its European allies,” said Mr Pence.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has repeatedly called on Roe v Wade to be overturned. In a summer brief filed to the court, Ms Fitch said that the precedent the ruling set is “egregiously wrong”.
While Mr Pence acknowledged he “can’t say” how the court will rule, he said he has “absolute confidence that the tide has turned for the pro-life movement”.
“Americans are ready for an end to the judicial tyranny of Roe v Wade,” he added.
A ruling in the state’s favour would mean that states would be able to develop their own abortion laws. Experts believe that abortions would soon become illegal in more than 20 other states.
A Pew Research survey from May 2021 found that about 6 in 10 Americans believe that abortion should be legal in almost all circumstances. The same survey found that 4 in 10 Americans believe it should be illegal in all cases.
“Their goal is for the Supreme Court to take away our right to control our own bodies and our own futures – not just in Mississippi, but everywhere,” Ms Northrup said.
“Women of childbearing age in the US have never known a world in which they don’t have this basic right.”
A decision from the court is expected in the summer of 2022.
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