June 7, 2017 / 5:20 PM / 2 months ago

Delaware governor to sign first abortion rights bill under Trump

FILE PHOTO -- A woman holds a sign in the rain as abortion rights protestors arrive to prepare for a counter protest against March for Life anti-abortion demonstrators on the 39th anniversary of the Roe vs Wade decision, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, January 23, 2012.Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

(Reuters) - Delaware's governor is poised to sign into law a bill that ensures abortion remains legal in the state, in the first such move since President Donald Trump was elected on a pledge to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Delaware state House voted 22 to 16 on Tuesday to approve the measure, which had already passed in the state Senate. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats.

"He will sign the bill," Jonathan Starkey, a spokesman for Democratic Governor John Carney Jr., said on Wednesday.

As early as the end of this week, Carney could sign the bill that supporters said codifies at the state level provisions of the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that protects a woman's right to abortion, legislative sources said.

Trump, a Republican whose election was backed by anti-abortion groups, has promised to appoint justices to the nation's top court who would overturn Roe v. Wade and let states decide whether to legalize abortion.

"By taking this step Delaware will be the first state since the election to protect abortion rights," said Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive policy.

Abortion opponents had lobbied against the legislation and said they planned to take their fight to the governor's office.

"We will exert the same pressure upon Governor Carney, a Catholic, to uphold the sanctity of life for those innocent unborn children whose lives depend upon his vetoing this radical bill," said Delaware Right to Life spokeswoman Moira Sheridan.

A bill to support abortion rights was approved by the Illinois legislature in May but the state's Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, has vowed to veto it. In January, New York's Assembly adopted legislation similar to Delaware's, but it has stalled in the Senate.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown

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