Joe Biden says Roe v. Wade shouldn't be overturned after Supreme Court abortion leak

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that his administration will continue fighting in defense of Roe v. Wade, after a Supreme Court draft opinion striking down the landmark ruling was leaked.

“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned,” Biden said in a statement.

Biden said he did not know if the draft was authentic or whether it reflected the final decision.

He added that he has ordered his Gender Policy Council and the White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options to respond to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, after the Supreme Court allowed a Texas law known as SB. 8 — which effectively bans abortion at six weeks — to go into effect in September.

“We will be ready when any ruling is issued,” he said.

“If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Biden said. “And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”

Politico published the draft opinion, authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, Monday evening. The president issued the statement Tuesday morning ahead of a visit to Alabama, where he planned to tour a Lockheed Martin factory that produces Javelin antitank missiles that the U.S. is providing Ukraine to help defend against Russia’s invasion.

Alito wrote that the reasoning behind the Roe decision — which established a constitutional right for Americans to seek an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy — was “exceptionally weak” and “has had damaging consequences.” He also appeared to take issue with the court’s decision in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote, according to Politico. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled … It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Americans on both sides of the abortion debate gathered outside the Supreme Court on Monday night following the publication of the draft opinion.

Biden has been a strong supporter of abortion rights, but he has scarcely addressed the divisive issue since he became president.

Demonstrators holding posters in support of abortion rights gather outside of the Supreme Court on May 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images)
Demonstrators holding posters in support of abortion rights gather outside of the Supreme Court on May 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images)

Demonstrators holding posters in support of abortion rights gather outside of the Supreme Court on May 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images)

Democratic and Republican lawmakers reacted swiftly to the leak.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement saying “several” Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices lied about their views on Roe during confirmation hearings.

“Several of these conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the American people, have lied to the U.S. Senate, ripped up the Constitution and defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court’s reputation,” the Democratic leaders said.

Republicans cheered. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said “this is a great victory for God and the unborn who have been innocently slain for years.”

The Supreme Court’s official decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the case threatening Roe — is likely coming in the next two months. The case centers on a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortion at 15 weeks.

The Supreme Court has a conservative 6-3 majority. Ketanji Brown Jackson, Biden’s pick to replace retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, was confirmed last month.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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