Campaign

Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights

Greg Nash

Former Vice President Joe Biden believes Congress must move to enshrine abortion rights into federal law following several controversial bills passed by state legislatures around the country, his presidential campaign team confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday.

“Vice President Biden firmly believes that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and should not be overturned,” a campaign spokesperson said in a statement. “Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri are passing extreme laws in order to prevent a woman to be able to have an abortion under virtually any circumstance. Roe v. Wade lays out a constitutional guarantee that a woman can, in fact, make a choice between she and her doctor. Biden believes that codifying Roe through legislation must be pursued.” 

The Associated Press first reported the news.

The campaign team’s statement comes amid growing calls for members of Congress to take action on the issue following the passage of a bill in Alabama last week that effectively bars women from having abortions.

Other Democratic presidential candidates in recent days have expressed support for laws to codify Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that cemented the right to have an abortion. They include Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas), former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska) and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The renewed urgency to move on abortion rights comes after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed into law last week the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban. Ivey herself said the law is likely “unenforceable.”  

Even many Republicans have distanced themselves from the law, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who supports abortion rights, calling it “very extreme” and “terrible.”

Other states mentioned by Biden’s campaign, such as Georgia, have passed similarly strict laws on abortion. The laws come amid a broader movement by anti-abortion activists to get the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade by revisiting a component of the ruling saying states can’t place certain restrictions on women to undergo the procedure. 

Other Democratic candidates have not been as aggressive on the issue as their opponents. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said this week the idea to codify Roe v. Wade should be “taken seriously” but did not explicitly say whether he would back it.

Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) also has not weighed in on the issue in great detail, though she has said that “reproductive rights are not just protected by the Constitution of the United States but guaranteed in every state.”

Tags Beto O'Rourke Cory Booker Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden John Hickenlooper Kirsten Gillibrand Pete Buttigieg Susan Collins

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