Sessions pledges to respect Roe v. Wade decision despite personal beliefs

Senate questions Trump's attorney general pick
Senate questions Trump's attorney general pick

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Senate questions Trump's attorney general pick 02:35

Story highlights

  • President-elect Donald Trump has said he supports overturning Roe v. Wade
  • "It is the law of the land, it has been settled for some time," Sessions said

Washington (CNN)Sen. Jeff Sessions, in the middle of his confirmation hearing to become President-elect Donald Trump's attorney general, said Tuesday he would respect laws allowing abortion despite his deeply held personal belief that the courts are wrong on the issue.

The Alabama Republican said specifically that he would respect the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that said the right to privacy gives women the right to an abortion.
    Sessions, who has consistently voted against abortion rights in the Senate and has a 0% rating from several abortion rights groups, told senators overseeing his committee hearing that although he believed Roe v. Wade violated the Constitution, he would defend it.
    "It is the law of the land, it has been settled for some time," Sessions said. "I will respect it and follow it."
    Sessions said, however, that he believes the decision was a "colossal" mistake by the Supreme Court.
    Dawn Laguens, the executive director of Planned Parenthood, suggested in a statement that Sessions' comments didn't change her organization's opposition to his nomination.
    "The attorney general plays the critical role of the nation's chief law enforcement officer of the United States, and Sen. Sessions has failed to demonstrate that he will work to keep the country safe, protect the right to vote for all citizens, and protect health care providers," Laguens said. "We urge the Judiciary Committee to question Sen. Sessions on this troubling history."
    Trump agrees with Session's personal beliefs on abortion and has said he plans to nominate justices who want to reverse Roe v. Wade.
    "I'm pro-life. The judges will be pro-life," Trump said in a post-election interview with CBS, arguing that if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the decision to allow abortions would go to states.