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Roe v Wade: Trump says Supreme Court ruling on abortion ‘possible’

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President Donald Trump has said it is "certainly possible" that his Supreme Court pick will be involved in a ruling revisiting the landmark 1973 decision that legalised abortion in the US.

Mr Trump said he did not discuss abortion rights with Amy Coney Barrett before choosing her for the top court.

But Ms Coney Barrett was "certainly conservative in her views", he said.

She has been chosen to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg but awaits Senate confirmation.

Democrats and women's rights advocates fear Judge Barrett, a socially conservative jurist, could play a decisive role in any ruling overturning the 1973 judgment to legalise abortion, known as Roe v Wade.

Should Judge Barrett's nomination be confirmed, conservative-leaning justices will hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, shifting its ideological balance for potentially decades to come.

Mr Trump said he did not know how the judge would vote on the issue if her nomination was approved.

"Mostly I'm looking for somebody who can interpret the constitution as written. She is very strong on that," Mr Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends on Sunday.

Mr Trump announced Judge Barrett's nomination to the country's highest court at the White House on Saturday, describing the 48-year-old as a "stellar scholar" with "unyielding loyalty to the constitution".

The court's nine justices serve lifetime appointments, and their rulings can shape US public policy on everything from gun and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance.

Judge Barrett is the third justice appointed by the current Republican president, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

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The abortion issue took centre stage in Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Mr Gorsuch and Mr Kavanaugh.

Since then a number of conservative states have passed new abortion restrictions that could lead to legal challenges in the Supreme Court.

What is Roe v Wade, and why is it important?

Roe v Wade was the 1973 case that led to the legalisation of abortions in the US.

By a 7-2 vote, Supreme Court justices ruled that governments lacked the power to prohibit abortions.

The court's judgement was based on the decision that a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy came under the freedom of personal choice in family matters, as protected by the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

The ruling came after a 25-year-old single woman, Norma McCorvey under the pseudonym "Jane Roe", challenged the criminal abortion laws in Texas that forbade abortion as unconstitutional except in cases where the mother's life was in danger.

Henry Wade was the Texas attorney general who defended the anti-abortion laws.

The decision – on 22 January 1973 – remains one of the most controversial ever made by the Supreme Court.

In the decades since, states have adopted laws limiting abortion rights, spurring legal challenges and fractious political debates on a state and national level.

In contrast, more liberal US states have moved to implement their own laws to ensure abortion rights for their residents.

President Trump has previously expressed support for restricting access to abortion, but his views have shifted over time.

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What did Trump say about Roe v Wade?

In Sunday's interview with Fox & Friends, Mr Trump was asked whether he would like to see Roe v Wade challenged and overturned if Judge Barrett's nomination was confirmed.

"I didn't think it was for me to discuss that with her, because it's something she is going to be ruling on," Mr Trump said. "But if you look at her past actions and rulings, I think she may be in the category you mentioned, I don't know."

When asked whether a Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority could rule on a "life issue", Mr Trump said: "It's certainly possible."

He added: "Maybe they would do it in a different way. Maybe they would give it back to the states. You just don't know what's going to happen."

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