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Tuesday August 16, 2022

Biden slams 'extreme' Supreme Court for 'tragic error' on abortion

Biden said the court has done what it has never done before -- expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans

By AFP
June 25, 2022
US President Biden speaking in the White House on June 24, 2022. Photo: Agencies
US President Biden speaking in the White House on June 24, 2022. Photo: Agencies

WASHINGTON: An angry President Joe Biden called on voters Friday to rise up over the Supreme Court´s "tragic error" in ending the constitutional right to abortion, warning that an "extreme ideology" is already targeting other rights.

"The court has done what it has never done before -- expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans," Biden said in the White House after the conservative-dominated Supreme Court overturned "Roe v. Wade."

"It´s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court in my view."

The Democrat vowed to do everything he could to shield abortion access, but with the Supreme Court stripping away the federal right and handing power to often anti-abortion state legislatures, he acknowledged that his hands are largely tied.

The only way to ensure the right now "is for Congress to restore the protections of ´Roe v. Wade´ as federal law," he said. "No executive action from the president can do that."

About half of the US states are moving immediately to either ban or severely restrict abortion, responding to decades of activism by the so-called "pro-life" movement, which finally got its chance when Republican president Donald Trump named three more conservative justices to the top court, tilting the balance firmly right.

Biden did not hide his anger as he described some of the laws emerging from states, saying they are "jeopardizing the health of millions of women." In some cases, state legislators are allowing women to be "punished for protecting their health" and forcing women to "bear their rapist´s child," he said.

With the ruling, the Supreme Court has made the United States an "outlier" in the world, Biden charged.

Signaling the Democrats´ intention to make the abortion debate an important part of their campaign to retain control of Congress in November midterm elections, Biden said the fight is just starting.

According to Biden, the end to the constitutional right to abortion also threatens the future of other social issues where the Supreme Court had previously ruled in favor of individual choice, including contraception and same-sex marriage.

"I have warned how this decision risks the broader right to privacy," Biden said, describing the landmark 1973 "Roe" decision as underpinning "so many more rights that have come to be taken for granted and are ingrained."

That is the "extreme and dangerous path the court has now taken us on," he said.

Urging activists to remain peaceful, Biden said the answer should come at the polls.

"Voters need to make their voices heard. This fall, you must elect more senators and representatives who will codify the woman´s right to choose in federal law once again," he said.

"This fall, ´Roe´ is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot -- the right to privacy, liberty, equality, are all on the ballot."