WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden issued a statement Tuesday after a leaked report was published suggesting the Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.
FULL STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:
"We do not know whether this draft is genuine, or whether it reflects the final decision of the Court.
With that critical caveat, I want to be clear on three points about the cases before the Supreme Court.
First, my administration argued strongly before the Court in defense of Roe v. Wade. We said that Roe is based on "a long line of precedent recognizing ‘the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty’… against government interference with intensely 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.
Second, shortly after the enactment of Texas law SB 8 and other laws restricting women’s reproductive rights, I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court. We will be ready when any ruling is issued.
Third, 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. 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."
Abortion rights supporters gathered Monday night in the nation's capital and stayed well into the morning chanting and holding signs after Politico published what it said was a draft of an opinion in a major abortion case that was argued in the fall.
The document was labeled a "1st Draft" of the "Opinion of the Court" in a case challenging Mississippi's ban on abortion after 15 weeks -- a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.
The draft opinion in effect states there is no constitutional right to abortion services and would allow individual states to regulate or outright ban the procedure.
It is unclear if the draft represents the court's final word on the matter. Nevertheless, the report represents an extremely rare breach of the court's secretive deliberation process.
A Supreme Court spokeswoman said the court had no comment. Votes and opinions in a case aren't final until a decision is announced or, in a change wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, posted on the court's website.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.