President Joe Biden has urged US voters to defend access to abortion, describing as “radical” a draft Supreme Court ruling showing a majority opinion ending the nationwide right.
He warned the implications of the draft ruling could lead to widespread changes in American law as “every other decision relating to the notion of privacy is thrown into question”.
If the ruling is finalised, abortion laws will depend on individual states and “it will fall on voters to elect” officials who back the right to the procedure, Biden said after the ruling was leaked.
Biden also called on Congress to enshrine legal abortion in US law — the only way of overcoming any Supreme Court ruling that the document apparently shows is set to be issued.
The president said he would “work to pass and sign into law” such legislation but acknowledged that conditions were not right with the Senate evenly divided between his Democrats and Republicans.
The Supreme Court confirmed the leaked draft ruling was authentic but not the final decision on the matter.
“If this decision holds, it’s really quite a radical decision,” Biden told reporters in Washington as he departed on a trip to Alabama. “It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence.
“It concerns me a great deal that we’re going to, after 50 years, decide a woman does not have a right to choose,” he added.
“But even more, equally profound is the rationale used. It would mean that every other decision relating to the notion of privacy is thrown into question.”
With many US states already enacting or preparing highly restrictive abortion laws, Biden said in a statement that he had ordered advisors to study “a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court. We will be ready when any ruling is issued”.
“At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation” that codifies the existing guarantees seemingly set to be removed by the high court.
“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental,” Biden said, referring to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v Wade that declared abortion a constitutionally protected right.
“Roe has been the law of the land for almost 50 years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)