President Joe Biden called the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “a sad day for the Court and the country,” in an address from the White House this afternoon, urging Congress to act on legislation codifying women’s rights to an abortion nationally and urging Americans to peacefully take action.
“This is not over,” Biden said as he left the podium.
In a brief address during which Biden at times appeared so exasperated that he went off script, the president remarked on the unprecedented nature of a Supreme Court ruling that invalidated what had been a matter settled before the court five decades ago.
He said the decision would engager women’s lives and pledged that his administration would work to find ways to help women who live in states where restrictive abortion laws are now permitted to take effect. He also urged Americans to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, noting that the outcome of a combination of a Republican Senate majority and a Trump presidency are what wrought today’s decision via a 6-3 conservative majority on the Court.
“It was 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,” Biden said.
Besides taking those justices—Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch—to task, Biden specifically called out Justice Clarence Thomas, currently the only sitting Black justice, whose concurrence in the decision could also invite challenges to other rights, such as same-sex marriage and even contraception, that conservatives abhor.
“Justice Thomas said as much today,” Biden said. “He explicitly called to reconsider the right to marriage equality, the right of couples to make their choice on contraception. This is an extreme and dangerous path the Court is now taking us on.”