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States brace for abortion fights after Kavanaugh nomination

Last Updated Jul 12, 2018 at 9:40 am EDT

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2017, file photo, a Planned Parenthood supporter and opponent try to block each other's signs during a protest and counter-protest of abortion in St. Louis. If a Supreme Court majority shaped by President Donald Trump overturns or weakens the right to abortion, the fight over its legalization could return to the states. (AP Photo/Jim Salter, File)

BOSTON – Anticipating renewed fights over abortion, some governors and state lawmakers already are looking for ways to enhance or dismantle the right in their own constitutions and laws.

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has raised both fears and hopes that a conservative court majority could weaken or overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that created a nationwide right to abortion.

That could fan an already raging battle in states over what should and should not be legal.

Some Democratic elected officials want to enact new abortion protections and repeal dormant laws that criminalize abortion. Some of those laws date to the 19th century but remain on the books.

At the same time, 17 states already have laws that could be used to restrict the legal status of abortions if Roe is overturned or severely limited.