President Joe Biden torched the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade during an impassioned speech on Friday, June 24.
Biden’s address came just hours after the Supreme Court released a majority opinion overturning the landmark case, which legalized abortion nationwide. “It’s a sad day for the country in my view,” he said. “It doesn’t mean the fight is over.”
Biden explained how conservatives and Supreme Court justices appointed by former President Donald Trump were those who voted to overturn the case. “Make no mistake: this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades,[to] upset [the] balance of our law. It’s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court in my view. The court has done what it has never done before: expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans that had already been recognized. The court’s decision to do so will have real and immediate consequences,” he said.
Biden called on Congress to codify the protections of Roe V. Wade as federal law. The president rallied voters to elect leaders who will defend abortion rights. “This fall, we must elect more senators and representatives who will codify woman’s right to choose into federal law once again. Elect more state leaders to protect this right at the local level,” he said. “We need to restore the protections of Roe as law of the land.”
Biden spoke about how the opinion would affect poor women, women who are victims of rape and incest, as well as doctors who perform the procedure. He also pointed out how the decision automatically put some abortion laws into affect, such as those in Missouri and South Dakota. He also detailed plans for his administration to respond to the decision, including making sure contraception and other medications are kept available.
He concluded his speech by promising to keep up the fight. “This decision must not be the final word. My administration will use all of its appropriate lawful powers,” he said. “With your vote, you can act. You can have the final word. This is not over.”
The Supreme Court opinion came about a month after a draft decision was leaked showing the court’s intention to overturn Roe. The laws on abortion rights now fall on the individual states to legislate, making it illegal for women to get a safe and legal procedure in many states.
Biden’s speech echoed points that he made in a statement after the draft was leaked, where he spoke about his support for women’s rights. “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,” he said. At the time, he’d also spoken about steps his administration was taking to support access to safe and legal abortion.
Like in the speech Friday, Biden had spoken about how important it is to elect leaders who support women’s rights in the November midterm elections in his statement after the draft leaked. “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. Following the SCOTUS decision, a number of leaders have emphasized the importance of electing leaders who support women’s rights to abortion.
Former President Barack Obama, who Biden was the Vice President to, and former First Lady Michelle Obama released a joint statement calling for Americans to continue to fight for women’s rights. “But we’re not asking you to just think about these people. We’re asking you to join with the activists who’ve been sounding the alarm on this issue for years — and act,” the pair said.