The US president said the reversal of the Roe v Wade decision ‘takes away’ a constitutional right.
The Supreme Court’s decision rolling back federal abortion protections marks a “sad day for the court and the country,” US President Joe Biden declared on Friday after the nationwide right to abortion protected by Roe v Wade was overturned.
“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized,” he continued. “They didn’t limit it. They simply took away.”
‘The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk.’
The president called on his supporters to make their voices heard in the upcoming midterm elections, arguing that the court’s decision “must not be the final word.” Until then, however, he promised to “do all in my power to protect a woman’s right in states where they will face the consequences of today’s decision,” including guaranteeing that women in states where abortion is illegal can travel to states where they can receive the procedure.
“This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot,” Biden said, blaming “three justices named by one president, Donald Trump, who were the core of today’s decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country.”
At the same time, he acknowledged that the effort to overturn Roe had begun long before the Trump presidency was a glimmer in the former reality star’s eye. “Make no mistake – this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law,” he said, calling it the “realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court.”
The president acknowledged that he could not personally reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling, pointing out that only Congress would be capable of enshrining abortion rights in law. The Democratic majority in the Senate already attempted to pass such a law last month, only to run short of the required votes.
Biden wondered aloud what the Supreme Court’s decision meant for the “broader right to privacy for everyone,” implying that “the right to make the best decisions for your health, the right to use birth control, the right to privacy of a couple in their bedroom… the right to marry the person you love” were all threatened by the reversal of Roe. The landmark decision legalized abortion by arguing it fell under a woman’s constitutional right to privacy.
The Supreme Court’s decision overturning the 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade means the responsibility for legislating on abortion falls to state governments, fewer than half of which have laws on the books banning or restricting abortion. Several states, including Missouri, have passed so-called “trigger laws” designed to take effect should Roe be overturned, while other states have laws expressly protecting a woman’s right to abortion.