President Joe Biden issued a forceful defense of access to abortion on Tuesday, saying a woman’s right to choose is “fundamental” and that “basic fairness” demands that Supreme Court not overturn five decades of precedent in an upcoming decision.
Biden was responding to the leak of a draft opinion—published by Politico Monday night—that, if released as a formal majority opinion in June, would overturn 1973’s Roe V. Wade It will upend half of a century’s legal protections supporting a Constitutional Right to Abortion in the U.S.
“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned,” Biden said in a statement.
Continue reading: How to Get the Leaked Roe-v. Wade Supreme Court Draft Objection
This draft opinion is still in its preliminary stage. The language and vote of Justices may change over the next few weeks. If the Supreme Court decides to overturn, however Roe V. Wade Biden stated that he will push Congress to pass legislation guaranteeing the protections provided under his bill by next month’s end Roe, and that he’d be willing to sign it into law. Getting such a law passed, he said, will require voters to elect more pro-choice lawmakers in the House and Senate in November’s midterm elections. At this point, that seems unlikely; Democrats have been bracing for potential losses in the House in November and Biden’s approval ratings—hovering in the low 40s—are a potential drag on the performance of his party in the midterms.
The White House was anticipating that the Supreme Court would overturn. Roe V. Wade, Biden said. When the Supreme Court allowed a Texas law that bans abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy to take effect last year, Biden instructed his White House counsel’s office, led by Dana Remus, and the White House Gender Policy Council, led by Jennifer Klein, to craft his Administration’s response to a more sweeping decision from the Court. “We will be ready when any ruling is issued,” Biden said.
Biden finds it difficult to accept the possibility that the Supreme Court will overturn the case concerning reproductive rights. While unemployment is low, concerns over inflation persists as prices on household goods continue to increase, the impacts of the pandemic drag on, and Biden is working to manage the complex global response to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.
Since becoming President, Biden hasn’t spent a lot of time talking about defending reproductive rights, an important issue to his base. Biden didn’t dwell on the topic of abortion during his State of the Union address in March. “The constitutional right affirmed by Roe V. Wade—standing precedent for half a century—is under attack as never before,” Biden told the joint session of Congress on March 1. “If we want to go forward, not backward, we must protect access to health care. Preserve a woman’s right to choose.”
Continue reading: Battle Over the Future of the Anti-Abortion Movement If the Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade
Following a time of progress by Republicans in state legislatures on abortion restrictions, candidates of both political parties have made the issue a prominent topic of their campaign talks. After Texas’ restrictive abortion law was implemented in fall, polling revealed that voters were more interested in this issue. Senate Democrats tried and failed in late February to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act that would codify in law the protections from Roe V. Wade.
The only way to guarantee a national right to abortion is through Congress if the Supreme Court’s draft opinion becomes its final opinion. Biden’s Tuesday comments suggest that they must try again.
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