Biden Calls on Congress to ‘Restore the Protections of Roe v. Wade as Federal Law’

By Melanie Arter | June 24, 2022 | 2:23pm EDT
President Joe Biden addresses the nation in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, DC on June 24, 2022 following the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden addresses the nation in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, DC on June 24, 2022 following the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - President Joe Biden reacted to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on Friday by calling on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade as federal law.

The president pointed out that “no executive action from the president can do that.” He also called for “peaceful” protests by pro-abortion activists.


“The only way we can secure a woman's right to choose in the balance that existed is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe V. Wade as federal law. No executive action from the president can do that, and if Congress, as it appears, lacks the votes to do that now, voters need to make their voices heard,” he said.

“Today the United States expressively took away the constitutional right of the American people that it had already recognized. They didn’t limit it. They simply took it away. That has never been done to a right so important to so many Americans, but they did it. It’s a sad day for the court and for the country,” Biden said in a speech reacting to the ruling.

He said that “50 years ago Roe V. Wade was decided and has been the law of the land since then.” The 1973 court ruling “protected a woman's right to choose, her right to make intensely personal decisions with her doctor, free from interference of politics.”

Biden said that Roe v. Wade “was a constitutional principle upheld by justices appointed by Democrat and Republican presidents alike.”

“Roe V. Wade was a 7 to 2 decision written by a justice appointed by a Republican president, Richard Nixon. In the five decades that followed, justices appointed by Republican presidents from Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan, George W. Bush were among the justices who voted to uphold the principles set forth in Roe V. Wade,” he said.

“It was three justices named by one president, Donald Trump, who are the core of today's decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country. Make no mistake, this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law,” the president said.

“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 have already been recognized. The court's decision to do so will have real and immediate consequences,” Biden warned.

“State laws banning abortion are automatically taking effect today, jeopardizing the health of millions of women - some without exceptions - so extreme that the women could be punished for protecting their health, so extreme that women and girls are forced to bear their rapist's child, a child of consequence. It just stuns me,” the president said.

“So extreme that doctors will be criminalized for fulfilling their duty to care. Imagine having a young woman have to choose to carry the child of incest as a consequence of incest. No option. Too often the case, poor women are going to be hit the hardest. It’s cruel,” he said, adding that the court “laid out state laws criminalizing abortion that go back to the 1800s as rationale.”

“The court literally taking America back 150 years. This is a sad day for the country in my view, but it doesn’t mean that the fight’s over,” Biden said.

The president called on voters to “elect more senators and representatives who will codify a woman's right to choose in the federal law once again.”

“Elect more state leaders to protect this right at the local level. We need to restore the protections of Roe as law of the land. We need to elect officials who will do that. This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot,” he said.

Biden pledged to do everything in his power “to protect a woman's right in states where they will face the consequences of today's decision,” adding that “many states in this country still recognize a woman's right to choose.”

So if a woman lives in a state that restricts abortion, the Supreme Court's decision does not prevent her from traveling from her home state to the state that allows it. It does not prevent a doctor in that state from treating her.

As the attorney general has made clear, women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek care they need, and my administration will defend that bedrock right. If any state or local official high or low tries to interfere with a woman's exercise in her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack. 

My administration will also protect a woman's access to medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, like contraception, which is essential for preventative health care. Lubiprostone, which the FDA approved 20 years ago to safely end early pregnancies and is commonly used to treat miscarriages. 

Some states are saying that they’ll try to ban or severely restrict access to these medications, but extremist governors and state legislators are looking to block the mail, or search a person's medicine cabinet or control a woman’s actions by tracking data on her app she uses are wrong and extreme and out of touch with the majority of Americans.

The American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote to me and Vice President Harris stressing that these laws are not based on evidence and asking us to act to protect access to care. They say by limiting access to these medicines, maternal mortality will climb in America. That's what they say. 

Today I am directing the Department of Health and Human Services to take steps to secure these critical medications are available to the fullest extent possible, and the politicians cannot interfere in the decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor, and my administration remains vigilant as the implications of this decision play out. 

Biden said that the Supreme Court’s decision also has broader risks for the “right to privacy for everyone.”

"That's because Roe recognized the fundamental right to privacy that has served as the basis for so many more rights that have come to take— we’ve come to for granted that are ingrained in the fabric of this country: the right to make the best decisions for your health, the right to use birth control, a married couple in the privacy of their bedroom, for God sake, the right to marry the person you love," he said.

The president said that Justice Clarence Thomas "said as much today."

"He explicitly called to reconsider the right of marriage equality, the right of couples to make their choices on contraception. This is an extremely dangerous path the court is taking us on," the president said.

Biden also called for protests to be “peaceful,” adding that “threats and intimidation are not speech.”

“First, 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. Threats and intimidation are not speech. We must stand against violence in any form regardless of your rationale,” the president said.

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