President Joe Biden pledged to defend the so-called right to abortion and reaffirmed his commitment to the generalization of this procedure in a declaration issued on January 22 on the occasion of the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
“The constitutional right established in Roe vs. Wade almost 50 years ago is today under attack like never before,” reads the statement, which was co-signed by Vice President Kamala Harris. “It is a right that we believe should be codified in law, and we are committed to defending it with all the tools we have.”
“We are deeply committed to protecting access to health care, including reproductive health care – and to ensuring that this country is not pushed backwards on women's equality,” the statement continued.
The statement was released a day after tens of thousands of pro-life advocates gathered in Washington for the annual March for Life.
Biden and Harris condemned efforts by pro-life legislators to pass abortion restrictions, saying that “in Texas, Mississippi and many other states across the country, access to reproductive health care is under attack.”
“These state restrictions limit the freedom of all women,” they wrote, adding that these restrictions are “particularly devastating for those with fewer options and fewer resources, such as those in underserved communities, including communities of color and many of those in rural areas.”
In addition to their support for codifying the right to abortion throughout pregnancy, Biden and Harris wrote that they “will continue to work with Congress on the Women's Health Protection Act.”
The Women's Health Protection Act would establish “a legal right for health professionals to perform abortions and the right for their patients to receive care, without medically unnecessary restrictions that isolate abortion care.”
If passed, the bill will also eliminate requirements including mandatory waiting periods and ultrasounds before the procedure can be performed.
“At this pivotal moment, we recommit to strengthening access to essential reproductive health care, upholding the constitutional right established by Roe, and protecting the freedom of all to shape their own future,” reads the statement. in the statement.
In an interview with The Washingtonian at the time the Roe ruling was published, Mr. Biden said he was more moderate on many social issues, including abortion. “But when it comes to issues
like abortion, amnesty and acid, I'm about as liberal as your grandmother,” Biden said at the time.
“I don't like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don't think a woman has the exclusive right to say what should happen to her body.”
While in the Senate, Biden repeatedly voted for laws that would prevent taxpayer funding of abortion. However, her views on abortion began to change over time.
In his final year in the Senate before becoming vice president, Biden received a zero rating from the National Right to Life Committee. The last time Biden received a grade above zero from the pro-life committee was in 2003-04.