He also urged voters to support candidates at the state and federal levels to help protect access to abortion.
“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,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November.”
“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,” Mr. Biden said.
Later, Mr. Biden said that if the opinion becomes law, “a whole range of rights” could be impacted.
“If this decision holds, it’s really quite a radical decision,” Mr. Biden told reporters. “It basically says all the decisions relating to your private life, who you marry, whether or not you decide to conceive a child or not, whether or not you can have an abortion, a range of other decisions. … It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence.”
The president’s comments come after Politico published what it says is an initial draft of a majority Supreme Court opinion that would dismantle abortion protections on the federal level, turning over abortion access to state control.
Mr. Biden urged caution, saying that it is not known if the draft is genuine or if it reflects the court‘s final decision. The Supreme Court has not confirmed whether the draft is legitimate, and it was unsigned by a justice, which is required to make an opinion final.
Still, Mr. Biden defended access to abortion, saying Roe is constitutional under the 14th Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and protections against government interference in 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,” the president said.
In January, he issued a joint statement with Vice President Kamala Harris on the 49th anniversary of the Roe decision, saying the constitutional right to an abortion “is under assault as never before.”
“It is a right we believe should be codified into law, and we pledge to defend it with every tool we possess,” the statement read. “We are deeply committed to protecting access to health care, including reproductive health care—and to ensuring that this country is not pushed backward on women’s equality.”
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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