Donald Trump's re-election hopes 'very real' as abortion row paves way for White House return

The former US President has arguably seen his legacy cemented after a leaked ruling looks set to end the legal right to abortion in his country

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The US Supreme Court looks poised to overturn the nationwide legal right to abortion.

In a leaked draft, now confirmed to be genuine, Justice Samuel Alito writes that the 1973 Roe v Wade decision – that legalised abortion across the US – is “egregiously wrong”.

If the ruling comes to fruition, "trigger laws" could instantly make abortion illegal in 22 US states.

Many on this side of the Atlantic fear a new culture war in the US will now distract from the real war in Ukraine.

And EU officials say the news serves as a timely reminder that there is a “very real” chance of Donald Trump returning to the White House in 2024.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Protesters outside the US Supreme Court yesterday after news of the leak broke
Protesters outside the US Supreme Court yesterday after news of the leak broke

Several diplomats are alarmed at the way Trump’s legacy could now reshape the judiciary in the US, Politico reports.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September 2020, sombre vigils quickly turned into rallying cries.

She was a key player in the liberal wing of the country’s highest court and her death presented Mr Trump with an unprecedented opportunity.

Breaking convention to appoint a Justice during an election cycle, he took it with both hands in a move which saw the composition of the court fundamentally change.

Six of the nine Justices currently on the court were appointed by Republican presidents, with the other three picked by Democrats.

And given that these nominations are life appointments, the constitutional significance of this is huge.

The court will be right-leaning for a generation, outlasting election cycles and political whims.

This is why many see the Roe v Wade move as something that could define Mr Trump’s legacy.

But it also paves the way for his return, as the Republican firebrand can take sole credit for a court ruling that the evangelical right has been seeking for decades.

On the other side of the coin, news of the leak has sparked mass condemnation both in the US and around the world.

The American Civil Liberties Union said that if confirmed, the decision "would deprive half the nation of a fundamental, constitutional right that has been enjoyed by millions of women for over 50 years".

And in the UK, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the overturning of Roe v Wade will cause a "great deal of anxiety" among women in the US.