Joe Biden condemned the supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade on Friday, saying the conservative justices’ ruling to eliminate the federal right to abortion access represented “a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error”.
“With Roe gone, let’s be very clear: the health and life of women in this nation are now at risk,” Biden said. “This is an extreme and dangerous path the court is now taking us on.”
The Democratic US president promised he will “do everything in my power” to protect abortion rights, as dozens of Republican-controlled states prepare to ban the procedure.
Biden said his administration would prevent states from restricting travel to access abortion services, and the Food and Drug Administration will also protect the distribution of medication that can terminate a pregnancy.
But while outlining his plan to protect reproductive freedom in America, Biden acknowledged that only Congress has the ability to re-establish the federal right to abortion.
Congressional Democrats have already attempted to codify Roe, but they currently do not have the votes in the Senate needed to pass such legislation. Echoing fellow members of his party, Biden stressed the urgent need to elect more Democrats in the midterm elections this November, giving them an opportunity to protect abortion access and other fundamental rights.
“Voters need to make their voices heard. This fall, we must elect more senators and representatives who will codify a woman’s right to choose into federal law once again,” Biden said.
Biden referenced Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which suggested the court may soon reconsider other major rulings. Thomas specifically cited cases that established the right to access contraception and legalized same-sex marriage.
“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. “With your vote, you can act. You can have the final word. This is not over.”
Biden empathized with the millions of Americans who are outraged by the supreme court’s decision to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent to end Roe, and he pleaded with the country to not engage in violence over the ruling. Crowds had already gathered outside of the supreme court on Friday morning, as Americans of all ideologies protested or celebrated the ruling.
“I call on everyone, no matter how deeply they care about this decision, to keep all protests peaceful – peaceful, peaceful, peaceful,” Biden said. “No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable. Threats and intimidation are not speech. We must stand against violence in any form, regardless of your rationale.”
Biden will leave Saturday for the G7 summit in Germany and the Nato summit in Spain. While overseas, the US president will probably face questions from his foreign counterparts about why America is stripping away a right that is considered a guarantee in so many of its peer nations. He may not have any good answers to offer.