This month, the Supreme Court leaked a draft majority opinion that would overturn the landmark decision Roe v. Wade. This is unprecedented, after the 3 Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justices appointed by Trump belied to the Senate during their confirmation hearings, that they believed that Roe was the law of the land.
President Joe Biden had this to say about the leaked SCOTUS opinion:
First, my administration argued strongly before the Court in defense of Roe v. Wade. We said that Roe is based on “a long line of precedent recognizing ‘the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty’… against government interference with intensely personal decisions.” 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.
Second, shortly after the enactment of Texas law SB 8 and other laws restricting women’s reproductive rights, I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court. We will be ready when any ruling is issued.
Third, 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. 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. (White House, 2022)
Candidate Biden proclaimed that, as president, he would advocate for the codification of Roe v. Wade. Codification would preserve the right to abortion in US statute, so that courts could not interfere with that fundamental right to privacy. Shortly after the SCOTUS leak was revealed by Politico, Senate Democrats tried to codify Roe. However, the effort was blocked by Senate Republicans, falling short of the 60 votes needed to pass the bill.
President Biden demurred the outcome, railing against Republicans: “Republicans in Congress – not one of whom voted for this bill – have chosen to stand in the way of Americans' rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families, and lives.” Vice President Harris commented that the Senate’s failure can be corrected, should Americans elect more pro-abortion rights candidates to the US Senate (Business Insider, 2022).