Graham on Roe v. Wade: 'You don’t overturn precedent unless there’s a good reason'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP divide in Congress over Rosenstein's future Sanders: Kavanaugh accusers 'have risked their lives to come forward' Rosenstein fiasco raises the stakes in midterms for DOJ’s future MORE (R-S.C.) asserted on Sunday that Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide, should not be overturned "unless there's a good reason."

In an interview airing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Graham said that the 1973 decision has been reaffirmed "in many different ways" in subsequent rulings, and that the precedent should be respected. 

"You don’t overturn precedent unless there’s a good reason," Graham said.

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"I would tell my pro-life friends: you can be pro-life and conservative, but you can also believe in stare decisis," he added, using a legal term used to refer to precedent.

His comments came days after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he would retire from the Supreme Court at the end of July, a move that will allow President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign MORE to nominate his second justice to the high court.

News of Kennedy's retirement sparked speculation about whether Trump would choose a new justice willing to overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, which held that state laws restricting or banning abortion violated a woman's constitutional right to privacy.

Trump has previously said he is committed to nominating justices to the Supreme Court who would be willing to overturn the landmark case, which has long drawn the ire of anti-abortion activists and conservatives.

In nearly 31 years on the Supreme Court, Kennedy was often seen as the swing vote, siding with conservatives on issues like religious freedom and with the court's liberal justices on issues like abortion and gay marriage.

But the opening on the court will allow Trump to choose a conservative justice who is more likely to side with its four other conservative justices consistently, strengthening the right-leaning majority on the bench.