Pence sat down with CNN’s Dana Bash to discuss President Donald Trump’s recent Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and the fate of Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 ruling that legalized abortion throughout the country.
When Bash asked Pence if he would still like to see Roe overturned, the devout anti-abortion advocate responded carefully: “Well, I do, but I haven’t been nominated to the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh has.”
Kavanaugh is Trump’s pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who resigns at the end of the month.
“I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” Pence continued. “I’m proud to be part of a pro-life administration that’s advanced pro-life policies. But what I can assure you is that what the president was looking for here was a nominee who will respect the Constitution as written, who will faithfully uphold the Constitution and all of his interpretations of the law.”
Reproductive rights groups argue that Kavanaugh is a clear threat to legal abortion. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would likely be the fifth vote on the court to overturn Roe. Kennedy historically protected the landmark ruling as a known swing voter.
Pence said that Trump chose Kavanaugh as a nominee for his “credentials” and “judicial philosophy” ― not specifically to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Bash reiterated her question, asking Pence if he hopes Kavanaugh will be the justice to overturn the landmark abortion ruling.
“The president believes that the proper consideration for a nominee to the court is not about litmus tests. Frankly, we’ve seen enough of litmus tests over the decades,” Pence replied. “What we don’t want is to have people go to the courts with a specific objective or policy criteria. We want people to go that respect the Constitution, respect the Constitution as written, will not legislate from the bench.”
Since Trump took office, his administration has rolled back access to safe and affordable reproductive health care around the world. Earlier this year, Pence suggested that legal abortions in the U.S. “could end in our time.”
“For all the progress since 1973,” Pence said in February, “I just know in my heart of hearts that this will be the generation that restores life in America.”