GOP Sen. Joni Ernst says there's a 'very minimal' chance Roe v. Wade will be overturned


Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) says she doesn’t think the Supreme Court will overturn its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling, even though she signed a brief urging the court to do so earlier this year.

“I think the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned is very minimal. I don’t see that happening,” Ernst said Monday while facing off against Democrat Theresa Greenfield in a debate hosted by Iowa PBS.

Ernst, an anti-abortion senator who is seeking her second term this year, joined 38 of her Republican Senate colleagues in January in asking the Supreme Court to revisit and potentially overturn Roe, which protects the right to abortion. The “friend of the court” brief was also signed by 168 House members.

Conservatives are preparing for a showdown on abortion rights following President Donald Trump’s nomination last week of 48-year-old Amy Coney Barrett to fill the position made vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Sept. 18. Barrett is an appellate court judge who once clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Her confirmation, which looks all but certain in the GOP-controlled Senate, would solidify a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court for the foreseeable future.

“She is certainly conservative in her views, in her rulings, and we’ll have to see how that all works out, but I think it will work out,” Trump said Monday during an interview with Fox News, adding that it is “certainly possible” that Roe will be overturned with Barrett on the court.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), an outspoken conservative who vowed to support only Supreme Court nominees who think Roe was wrongly decided, said last week that Barrett would meet his “standard” on abortion.

Though the Supreme Court may not move immediately to overturn Roe, it’s likely a conservative majority might allow states to pass more restrictions on the ability to obtain an abortion.

Republicans are pushing a historically speedy timetable for confirming Barrett, with a final vote expected just days from the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Ernst, a member of GOP leadership in the Senate, supports moving forward with the confirmation of Trump’s nominee this presidential election year despite helping block President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court in 2016.

Iowa has turned into an unexpected battleground this election cycle. Trump won the Hawkeye State by 9.6 percentage points in 2016 but currently leads Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden among likely voters by only 3 points, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll published last week. Ernst trails Greenfield by 2 points, 40% to 42%, according to the same poll.

A dramatic gender gap of 40 points in the state may be influencing how both Senate candidates are communicating with voters in the final weeks of the race.

Though Trump leads among men in Iowa by 21 points, Biden leads women by a similar margin, 20 points, according to a recent poll conducted by The Des Moines Register and Mediacom Iowa.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.