President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris joined the chorus of voices reacting to the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision that shows a majority of justices are prepared to reverse the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, thus making it possible to effectively outlaw abortion on a state-by-state basis.
Biden, a Democrat who this year nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to sit on the court, said that his administration made a vigorous defense of women’s right to choose to have an abortion and called on legislators to enshrine that right into law now that it appears the Court will vacate Roe.
“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of our 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 released on Tuesday.
“...If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November,” he said, nodding to upcoming midterm Congressional contests that will determine whether Democrats maintain control over the legislative branch of government. “At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”
Harris, the first Black woman vice president and the highest-ranking woman ever elected to public office in the country, said that a decision to overturn Roe could endanger rights far beyond the ability of women to make choices about pregnancy.
“Roe ensures a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. It also, at its root, protects the fundamental right to privacy. What is clear is that opponents of Roe want to punish women and take away their rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women,” said Harris, who is a former California attorney general.
“The rights of all Americans are at risk. If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life. This is the time to fight for women and for our country with everything we have.”
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Biden and Harris were but two of the voices expressing opinions from concern to outrage over the Court’s apparent decision to overturn Roe. That decision went public late last night when Politico published the entire 98-page draft decision written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito and joined by four other right-leaning justices, comprising a majority of the court. Chief Justice John Roberts this morning acknowledged the document’s authenticity but cautioned that a draft decision leaves room for justices to revise their opinions or even change their votes before a ruling is officially issued.
On Twitter, journalist Nikole Hanna-Jones linked the decision to the right’s overarching racism.
The National Medical Association, a professional organization representing Black physicians, said reversing Roe would be “catastrophic” for Black and brown women and “set a chilling precedent for the medical field.”