US President Joe Biden directed the Health and Human Services Department to prepare to take measures to ensure that abortion and contraception medications are made available while he remarked that "the health and life of women in this nation are now at risk" with the reversal of Roe vs Wade by the US Supreme Court on Friday, 24 June.
"It is a sad day for the court and a sad day for the country...With Roe gone, the health and life of women in this nation is now at risk," he said.
Since 1973, the Roe vs Wade ruling had protected a woman's right to choose to abort a pregnancy. Now that the Supreme Court of the United States overturned that ruling, a constitutional right has been taken away, said President Biden in his statement from the Cross Hall on Friday.
"They didn't limit it. They simply took it away. That's never been done to a right so important to so many Americans. But they did it. And it's a sad day for the Court and for the country."US President Joe Biden
Calling the move a "tragic error," Biden added, "The court has done something it has never done before: expressly taken away a constitutional right for millions of Americans."
'Will Do All in My Power To Protect Women's Rights': Biden
"It concerns me a great deal that, after 50 years, we're going to decide that a woman doesn't have the right to choose," the president said at the time. "But even more equally profound is the rationale used — and it would mean that every other decision relating to the notion of privacy is thrown into question," Biden said in his address.
He added that he would use his power in order to protect the women in the states that might ban abortion following the overturn of Roe vs Wade.
"Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they're all on the ballot. Until then, I will do all in my power to protect a woman's right in states where they will face the consequences of today's decision."US President Joe Biden
Biden reiterated that once the Supreme Court has overturned a ruling, only the Congress can restore abortion protections on a federal level.
"No executive actions can do that," he said.
Currently, Democrats control the Congress. However, the midterm elections are coming up in November 2022 and they are expected to lose their majority stronghold. Thus, Republicans in the Congress might be able to pass legislation on abortion.
'Risk to Right To Privacy for Everyone'
"I've warned about how this decision risks the broader right to privacy for everyone. That's because Roe recognised the fundamental right to privacy that has served as the basis for so many more rights that – we've come to take for granted that are engrained in the fabric of this country – the right to make the best decisions for your health, the right to use birth control, the right to privacy of a couple in their bedroom, for God's sake, the right to marry the person you love," the US president said on Friday.
"Justice 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 extreme and dangerous path that the court is now taking us on," he added.
Trump's Reaction to the SCOTUS Decision
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump issued a statement citing that it was because of him that the Supreme Court overturned a historical decision that had been a law of the land for about half a century.
"I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. It was my great honour to do so!"Donald Trump, Former US President
Biden also cited that the three justices named by Donald Trump were the "core of today's decision to upend the scales of justice." He added that these justices deprived women of a fundamental right in the United States.
This decision, Biden said, is a "culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law."
Traveling for the Right To Choose
Biden added that the state laws banning abortion will go into effect automatically. These laws are called "trigger laws".
However, the Supreme Court's decision does not prevent women from traveling to a state that still recognises a woman's right to choose. It also does not hinder a healthcare professional in that state from treating her or providing her care.
Biden said that his administration will defend women's right to safely travel to a different state for abortion or reproductive health related care.