Former Vice President Mike Pence leaned into the culture wars on Tuesday, calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade on the eve of oral arguments over Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.
Mr. Pence has been picking and choosing his political fights since leaving office, and pounced at the opportunity to show that his loyalty lies with the pro-life movement as he considers a presidential bid in 2024.
“We are asking the court, in no uncertain terms, to make history,” Mr. Pence said at an event hosted by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. “We are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v. Wade and restore the sanctity of human life to the center of American law.”
“Now our Supreme Court has a chance to right that historic wrong once and for all,” he said.
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The legal battle is expected to test the court’s 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision that affirmed a right to abortion up until viability of the fetus.
It also will serve as a test for the three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, who had vowed in his 2016 campaign to select justices who would overturn Roe.
The Senate confirmed Mr. Trump’s nomination of Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, giving the court a 6-3 conservative majority.
Pro-life activists hope the court‘s conservative majority will roll back abortion protections.
Mr. Pence said he hopes the justices have the “courage” to overturn Roe, and he defended the Mississippi law.
“Thanks to the advances in modern medicine, the humanity of a 15-week-old child in the womb is undeniable,” he said. “By upholding Mississippi’s law, the Supreme Court can move away from the radical fringe and squarely back into the mainstream of Western thought and jurisprudence.”
“The fact is Americans are ready for an end to the judicial tyranny of Roe v. Wade, and a return of this issue back to their democratically elected representatives and the people,” he said.
An ABC News/Washington Post released this week found that by a 60%-27% margin, most American adults say the court should uphold Roe.
More Americans, 58%-36%, said they oppose state legislation making it harder for abortion clinics to operate.
Mr. Pence, a conservative Christian, has long been a favorite of social and religious conservative voters who make up a powerful base of the Republican Party.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Mr. Pence is a “pro-life leader” and his “tireless advocacy personally and nearly every level of public service has been indescribable in getting us to this pivotal moment.”
“He is a staunch ally of those on the very front lines of the pro-life movement,” Ms. Dannenfelser said.
The former vice president stayed out of the limelight for several months following the end of the Trump administration.
Mr. Pence disagreed with Mr. Trump over whether he had the constitutional authority to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, angering Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters.
Mr. Pence said — and most constitutional scholars agreed — that he lacked the authority to overturn the election results. Mr. Trump disagreed.
The former vice president reemerged in April, when he launched an advocacy group dedicated to promoting and defending the accomplishments of the Trump administration.
Mr. Pence in June headlined the annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner, hosted by the Hillsborough County Republicans in Manchester, New Hampshire, and delivered an address at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley.
Mr. Pence has said he doesn’t know if he will ever see “eye to eye” with Mr. Trump on that day.
He also has made it clear that he is “proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.”
Mr. Pence traveled to Loudoun County, Virginia, in late October to weigh in on the battle over parental involvement in education.
He praised the parents and community members packing school board meetings to sound the alarm on critical race theory, sexually graphic books, transgender policies and other hot-button cultural issues.
Mr. Pence is set to headline a state Senate fundraiser in New Hampshire on Dec. 8, marking his second trip this year to the first-in-the-nation primary state.
He said Tuesday the nation could be entering a “new era” and lamented the impact of Roe.
Mr. Pence said 62 million unborn children have been aborted, and “unborn children have been segregated into a caste of second-class citizens devoid of the most basic human rights.
“Precious babies have lived outside the protection of our laws, at the mercy of a culture that devalues them, and an abortion industry that profits from their suffering,” he said.
“I did not come here today to speak about popular opinion or jurisprudence, I came here today to speak about right and wrong — to say life is a human right and urge the Supreme Court in the United States to choose life,” Mr. Pence said.