Administration

White House: Biden committed to codifying Roe v. Wade regardless of Miss. case

The White House says President Biden is committed to codifying the outcome of Roe v. Wade regardless of how the Supreme Court rules after the justices agreed to hear arguments over a Mississippi law that bans virtually all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Press secretary Jen Psaki declined to weigh in on the high court taking up the case, but denounced how “the right to health care, the right to choose, have been under withering and extreme attack, including through draconian state laws” over the last four years.

“And the president and the VP are devoted to ensuring that every American has access to health care, including reproductive health care, regardless of their income, ZIP code, race, health insurance status or immigration status,” she added. “As such, the president is committed to codifying Roe regardless of the … outcome of this case.”

The Supreme Court said it would take the case on the Mississippi law after it was struck down twice by lower courts. In 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held that the state’s restriction placed an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy before viability. 

Last term, a 5-4 Supreme Court majority voted to block a Louisiana abortion limit, with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote alongside Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the court’s three other more liberal justices.

But the court has undergone an ideological shift since then, with Ginsburg’s death and replacement by Justice Amy Coney Barrett giving conservatives a 6-3 majority and throwing the future of long-standing abortion protections into question.

The Mississippi law is among hundreds of abortion restrictions that have been introduced recently in state legislatures across the country. In 2021 alone, more than 500 abortion restrictions, including nearly 150 bans, were introduced in 46 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Of those, just over 60 measures have been enacted.

It’s unlikely Congress will pass a law cementing the precedent set by Roe v. Wade into law, as it would require at least 10 GOP senators to vote with all 50 Democrats and independents. Only Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have made clear their support for the law.

Tags Abortion in the United States Abortion law abortion restrictions Amy Coney Barrett Guttmacher Institute Jen Psaki Joe Biden Lisa Murkowski reproductive care Roe v. Wade Ruth Bader Ginsburg Susan Collins

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