World news

Mike Pence says he is hopeful the Supreme Court will restrict abortion in US

Mike Pence praised how abortion rates had fallen under Viktor Orban’s leadership. Picture by Jacob King/PA Wire
Vanessa Gera and Balazs Kaurrmann Associated Press

Former US Vice President Mike Pence has said he is hopeful the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court created during his and President Donald Trump’s administration will overturn abortion rights in the United States.

Mr Pence spoke at a forum devoted to demographics and family values in Budapest, Hungary, where conservative leaders from central Europe expressed their anxieties about falling birth rates in the Western world.

“We see a crisis that brings us here today, a crisis that strikes at the very heart of civilisation itself. The erosion of the nuclear family marked by declining marriage rates, rising divorce, widespread abortion and plummeting birth rates,” Mr Pence said.

The Budapest Demographic Summit, which was first held in 2015 and takes place every two years, has become a platform for leaders to denounce illegal migration and urge families to have more children.

Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become a political model for right-wing leaders and commentators across the Western world who admire his hard-line opposition to illegal migration and his support for conservative social values.

Often they overlook Orban’s authoritarian streak — his erosion of democratic institutions and discrimination against minorities, including asylum seekers and LGBT people.

Mr Pence praised how abortion rates had fallen under Orban’s leadership. And he hoped things would change in the US as well.

“We may well have a fresh start in the cause of life in America,” he said. “It is our hope and our prayer that in the coming days, a new conservative majority on the Supreme Court of the United States will take action to restore the sanctity of life at the centre of American law.”

Mr Pence has tried to position himself as a conservative who can appeal both to his white Evangelical Christian base as well as Trump supporters and those who may have been fond of Trump’s policies, but not his pugilistic style.

But he faces an uphill battle after he drew Trump’s ire by declining to block the certification of his 2020 election defeat, which the former president still refuses to accept.

Mr Orban, the Hungarian leader who faces re-election next year, lamented that conservatives including Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have faced electoral losses recently.

But addressing Pence, he said: “Vice President, we wish you a comeback as soon as possible.”

It is a pivotal time for abortion rights in the US. Republican-led state legislatures have enacted increasingly restrictive laws and the Supreme Court’s conservative majority recently allowed a Texas law banning most abortions to go into effect.

The court is due next to consider a Mississippi ban on most abortions after 15 weeks.

Anti-abortion activists hope that the court will use that case to overturn, Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling which ensured a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

World news