Biden, lawmakers react to Supreme Court abortion ruling

Politics

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — President Joe Biden and lawmakers from both parties reacted with varying tones on Friday following the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Biden called it “a sad day for the court and the country,” during an afternoon televised address.

He added that “the court has done what it’s never done before — expressly taking away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans.”

The ruling ends constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years. The court’s conservative majority voted to overturn Roe v. Wade from 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion. The outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the court’s ruling “is outrageous and heart-wrenching” and fulfills the Republican Party’s “dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions.”

In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department “will work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom.” He said that in addition to protecting providers and those seeking abortions in states where it remains legal, “we stand ready to work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., applauded the decision.

“A lot of lives are going to be saved,” McCarthy told reporters. “But it also goes back to people in the states to have a say in the process.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said his panel would hold hearings on the ruling.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee will explore the grim reality of a post-Roe America in a hearing next month,” he said. “The Court’s decision to erase the right to access an abortion will not only lead to the denial of critical health care services but also criminal consequences for women and health care providers in states eager to embrace draconian restrictions,” he said.

The ruling was anticipated after a leaked opinion of the court’s decision showed their intention to remove protections for abortions via the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., lauded the court’s decision as “courageous and correct.” 

“This is an historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.  

The GOP leader compared the Dobbs decision to the court reversing its 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation. 

“The Court has corrected a terrible legal and moral error, like when Brown v. Board overruled Plessy v. Ferguson,” McConnell said. “The Justices applied the Constitution. They carefully weighed the complex factors regarding precedent. The Court overturned mistaken rulings that even liberals have long admitted were incoherent, restoring the separation of powers.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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