Ex-Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer says he’s ‘very sorry’ about abortion decision

Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer expressed regret for the high court’s decision to allow states to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, in his first interview since leaving the bench earlier this year.

Mr Breyer told CNN’s Chris Wallace he is "very, very, very sorry" about the decision, which overturned a half-century of expanded reproductive rights for women.

"Was I happy about it? Not for an instant. Did I do everything I could to persuade people? Of course, of course,” he said in the interview for the former Fox News anchor’s new CNN programme, Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?

Mr Breyer also said his decision to retire this past June was informed by past Republican obstruction of Democratic presidents’ Supreme Court nominees. He told Mr Wallance that he feared a Republican takeover of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections would have forced him to remain on the bench because the Senate would have refused to confirm anyone President Joe Biden would nominate to replace him.

"There have been delays, you know, when the party is split between control of the Senate and control of the presidency," he said. "And sometimes, long times pass and I would prefer that my own retirement, my own membership on the court, not get involved in what I call those purely political issues."