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Biden decries Supreme Court abortion decision as a ‘tragic error’

June 24, 2022 Updated Fri., June 24, 2022 at 1:36 p.m.

By Courtney Subramanian Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Friday blasted the Supreme Court ruling that overturned the right to abortion as a “tragic error” and called on voters to elect lawmakers who support the right.

“Make no mistake, this decision is a culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law,” he said in remarks at the White House. “It’s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error of the Supreme Court.”

The highest court voted along ideological lines 6-3 to uphold Mississippi’s abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. did not join the conservative majority to overturn Roe in a 5-4 vote, saying such action went too far.

The opinion, written by Justice Samuel A. Alito, largely mirrored a draft memo that was leaked and published by Politico in May.

The White House has been preparing for the ruling since the draft was published, weighing potential executive actions the president could take to protect reproductive rights as conservative states move to restrict or ban abortion access.

Democrats have called on Biden to issue orders that could remove restrictions to abortion-related medications or challenge state laws that criminalize out-of-state travel to seek the termination of a pregnancy. Administration officials, however, have warned that any such action would be fairly limited.

Biden said “no executive action from the president” could restore Roe’s protections. While Congress appears to lack the votes to enshrine such protections in federal law, Biden urged those who support abortion access to vote for candidates who share those views in the November midterm elections.

“This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedom is on the ballot,” Biden said.

Biden noted that it was the addition of three Supreme Court justices appointed by former President Donald Trump that “upended the scales of justice.”

The president said his administration would “use all of its appropriate lawful powers” to fight the decision and emphasized the ruling would “not be the final word.”

“You can act,” he added, urging Americans to vote. “You can have the final word. This is not over.”

Since the leak of the draft opinion, the president has said the Supreme Court’s ruling could ultimately threaten access to birth control and the right of same-sex couples to marry.

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