- President Joe Biden pledged to use his administration's authority to protect abortion access after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
- He also called on Americans to elect politicians who will protect abortion rights at the state and federal level.
- Nearly half of U.S. states are now expected to ban or severely restrict abortion.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden pledged to take every step his administration can to protect abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on Friday, and called on voters to elect state and federal officials who will vote to allow the procedure.
Biden spoke from the White House on the ruling that eliminates a woman's constitutional right to an abortion after nearly 50 years. The decision is expected to lead to nearly half of U.S. states outlawing or severely restricting the medical procedure and will affect tens of millions of people.
"I believe Roe v. Wade was the correct decision as a matter of constitutional law and application of the fundamental right to privacy and liberty and matters of family and personal autonomy," Biden said.
"It's a sad day for our country but it doesn't mean the fight is over," he said, urging Americans to elect more pro-choice lawmakers in the House and Senate in November's midterm elections. "We need to restore the protections of Roe as law of the land. We need to elect officials who will do that," Biden said.
"This is not over," he added.
In a 5-4 ruling, the nation's highest court tossed out Roe v. Wade, the landmark law that established the constitutional right to abortion in the United States in 1973.
The case that triggered Roe's demise after nearly a half-century, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, is related to a Mississippi law that banned nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Dobbs was by far the most significant and controversial dispute of the court's term. It also posed the most serious threat to abortion rights since Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe.
The court ruled 6-3 to uphold the Mississippi law.
An early and unprecedented leak of a draft of the majority opinion in May sent shockwaves across the country and galvanized activists on both sides of the debate. It also cast a pall over the nation's highest court, which immediately opened an investigation to find the source of the leak.
Following the leak and subsequent ruling, supporters and opponents of the decision gathered outside the nation's highest court.
Biden, a life-long Roman Catholic and the second president of the faith to hold the office since Democrat John F. Kennedy, criticized the Roe decision as a young senator. Nearly a half-century later and despite tensions with Catholic doctrine, Biden has become a champion of abortion rights.
Throughout his presidency, some U.S. bishops have publicly called for Biden to be denied the Catholic rite of communion during Mass for his political position on abortion.
The president has defended the right at several critical junctures and did so again Friday. He said he would flex his administration's power to make sure no people are denied legal abortion services following the ruling.
As protesters decry the decision across the country, he also urged Americans not to resort to violence.
"I call on everyone no matter how deeply they care about this decision to keep all protests peaceful, peaceful, peaceful, peaceful, no intimidation. Violence is never acceptable," Biden said.