Activists gear up for Roe v. Wade battle amid Justice Kennedy's departure

Posted: Updated:

Justice Kennedy's resignation has advocates and opponents of abortion gearing up for a fight over a landmark Supreme Court case.

"This is the closest we've ever been to overturning Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton,” said a member of the anti-abortion group "Students for Life."

The 81-year-old Kennedy, often a voice of moderation for over three decades on the court, provided the key vote on such closely divided issues as affirmative action, guns, campaign finance and voting rights in addition to same-sex marriage and the right to abortion.

During his tenure on the high court, Justice Kennedy voted to uphold the basic principles of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that upheld a woman's right to obtain a legal, pre-viability abortion.

Pro-life advocates say they are thrilled about Kennedy’s departure because he was a defender of abortion. In a video posted to YouTube Wednesday, the anti-abortion group "Students for Life" celebrated the decision.

Abortion is likely to be one of the focus points in the search for a new justice.

President Donald Trump has made clear he would try to choose justices who want to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Meanwhile, abortion rights activists say an overturn of the landmark case would be a dire threat to women's reproductive rights.

Officials at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic Region say they will continue to push for a bill that will allow New York state to continue to provide safe legal abortions even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Recent polls show that the majority of Americans do in fact support Roe v. Wade.

AP wires contributed to this report.

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