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3 May, 2022 16:22

Biden comments on Supreme Court abortion leak

The president has called on Americans to elect pro-choice lawmakers in the midterms
Biden comments on Supreme Court abortion leak

Commenting on reports that the US Supreme Court is preparing to overturn the precedent allowing abortion, President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on Americans to support pro-abortion officials in the coming midterm elections, so Congress can make it a law. 

On Monday evening, Politico published a 98-page document suggesting the court is willing to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey rulings, two precedents that have made abortion legal in the US without an act of Congress. The document, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, has since been confirmed as genuine.

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,” Biden said in a statement on Tuesday morning. “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.”

Biden’s Democrats, most of whom favor legalized abortion, currently have the majority in the House and control the 50-50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker. However, current polling suggests they may lose both chambers in November.

The president noted that his government’s lawyers had “argued strongly” in defense of Roe before the Supreme Court, saying that it was based on “a long line of precedent… against government interference with intensely personal decisions.”

“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 added.

Moreover, his Gender Policy Council and the White House Counsel’s Office are preparing options to address “the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court,” Biden said. “We will be ready when any ruling is issued.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling that abortion emanates from the fundamental constitutional right to privacy is almost as old as Biden’s political career. He was sworn in as senator in January 1973, just weeks before Roe was announced, and has both proposed and opposed abortion-related legislation over the years. “His back-and-forth over abortion has been a hallmark of his career,” was how the New York Times put it in 2019.

On Tuesday, in follow-up remarks to the White House press pool, Biden said that reversing Roe would be “a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence” that could affect same-sex marriage or birth control too.

“I’m not willing to leave that to the whims of the public in local areas,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed that the leaked document was authentic, but does not represent the court’s final decision. He said he has ordered an investigation into the leak, and called it “a singular and egregious breach” of trust among a workforce that is “intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law.” 

“To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way,” Roberts said in a statement.