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Pro-Life Senator Joni Ernst Says There’s a ‘Very Minimal’ Chance Supreme Court Will Overturn Roe v. Wade

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, May 1, 2019. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Pro-life Senator Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) said on Monday that she thinks the likelihood of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion legal, is “very minimal.”

Ernst’s comments during an hour-long debate for the U.S. Senate race against her pro-abortion opponent, Democrat Theresa Greenfield.

Moderator David Yepsen asked what each candidate would do if the Court overturned the ruling, which President Trump has suggested may happen now that he has nominated pro-life Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court. If confirmed, Barrett’s appointment would create a 6-3 conservative majority on the Court. 

Ernst explained that she is “proudly pro-life” and thinks “every life has value and is worthwhile” but expressed skepticism that the ruling would be overturned.

“I think the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned is very minimal. I don’t see that happening, truly I don’t see that happening,” she said.

The Iowa Republican went on to say that what pro-lifers can do, in lieu of a Court decision, is educate the public on how important life is.

I think that the views that are being taken by Theresa Greenfield and those that are backing her from the coasts, from California and New York, it’s inappropriate and not acceptable to most Iowa voters,” she said. 

Ernst has supported overturning the ruling in the past, and in January joined 206 other members of Congress in petitioning the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade. 

Greenfield said she believes abortion rights are “settled law.”

“I will always defend a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions with the guidance of her doctor,” she said. 

Barrett, when asked in 2016 about ways a future Supreme Court might allow states to pass more restrictions on abortion, said she didn’t believe the core case behind Roe v. Wade would change.

“I think don’t think the core case – Roe‘s core holding that, you know, women have a right to an abortion – I don’t think that would change. But I think the question of whether people can get very late-term abortions, how many restrictions can be put on clinics – I think that would change,” she said.

Greenfield is currently polling 2.6 points ahead of Ernst, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polling totals.

 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article identified Theresa Greenfield as anti-abortion, when she is in fact pro-abortion.

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