President Biden called the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and end a federal right to an abortion, “a sad day for the [Supreme] court and for the country” and said it will cast a “dark shadow” over a large swath of the U.S.
In an address from the White House shortly after the bombshell ruling was made public, the president said that the court “expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people,” adding, “that’s never been done to a right so important to so many Americans, but they did it.”
The final opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, repudiated a 1973 decision which guaranteed constitutional protections for abortion rights. It also struck down a 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that largely maintained the right established in Roe.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote, arguing that the legality of abortion should be left up to the states and congress.
“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” he added.
The majority party in the case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, included votes from Republican-appointed justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Biden said that decision was part of a decades-long effort to push the court to the right on the issue of abortion, calling it the “realization of an extreme ideology.”
“The court laid out state laws criminalizing abortion that go back to the 1800s as rationale — the court literally taking America back 150 years,” Biden said.
The president called on congress to restore Roe v. Wade as federal law, but acknowledged that he might not have the votes to pass that type of legislation.
With passions flaring, Biden urged people to make sure that protests remain peaceful.
“Violence is never acceptable,” he said.
The decision means that more than 20 states will move to restrict abortions or ban them completely. Some of these states, such as Georgia, Florida and Texas have ties to media companies, which maintain theme parks or shoot movies or shows in them. Several entertainment companies such as Netflix, Disney and Paramount have said they will pay for employees in those areas to travel to states where they can obtain an abortion. Other Hollywood stars such as Patricia Arquette, Billy Eichner and Elizabeth Banks have taken to social media to decry the court’s decision.
Biden said that supporters of abortion rights should make their voices heard in the midterms, an election cycle that polling suggests favors Republicans.
“With your vote you can act,” Biden said. “You can have the final word. This is not over.”
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