Joe Biden today blasted the US Supreme Court’s ‘un-American’ anti-abortion ruling after senior judges overturned the controversial Roe v. Wade decision that effectively legalised the procedure nation-wide.
In an address at the White House, the President said today was ‘a sad day for the court and the country’ and called the Supreme Court ‘wrong, extreme and out of touch’.
Accusing the court of ‘expressly taking away a constitution right that is so fundamental to so many Americans’, he vowed the fight over abortion rights ‘is not over’ and said his administration will do everything in its power to combat efforts to restrict women from travelling to other states to obtain abortions.
The Supreme Court today overturned a landmark 1973 ruling that effectively legalised abortions across the US by handing individual states the power to decide whether or not to permit the procedure.
The decision by the court’s conservative majority to overrule the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years.
The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law but not taken the additional step of erasing the precedent altogether. At the same time, the court voted 6-3 to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks, with very few medical exceptions.
The justices held that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that allowed abortions performed before a fetus would be viable outside the womb – between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy – was wrongly decided because the U.S. Constitution makes no specific mention of abortion rights.
Roe v. Wade was centered around ‘Jane Roe’, a pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, a single mother pregnant for the third time, who wanted an abortion. She sued the Dallas attorney general Henry Wade over a Texas law that made it a crime to terminate a pregnancy except in cases of rape or incest, or when the mother’s life was in danger – arguing that the law infringed on her constitutional rights.
‘The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,’ Conservative Justice Samuel Alito, who was nominated to the court in 2006 by George W Bush, wrote in the ruling on Friday.