The White House had like 12 hours to come up with a response, and this is what they went with?
Over the past few years, Republicans nationwide have increased their attacks on abortion access. Last night, a frightening leak from the Supreme Court suggested that Roe v. Wade will soon be overturned. As the nation reels, our good ol’ leader has come in with sage advice: Go out and vote. Because “not voting” is totally the reason why we’re here in the first place.
With an overwhelmingly conservative Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade was already hanging on by a thread. But that doesn’t make Politico’s publishing of an initial draft majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito any easier. In the draft, Alito writes that Roe was “egregiously wrong” from the start. He also states that both Roe and a subsequent 1992 decision — Planned Parenthood v. Casey — must be overturned.
In his opinion, Alito’s condemnation of Roe is severe. At one point, he refers to Roe as an “abuse of judicial authority” with “exceptionally weak” reasoning. He adds, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
So it’s totally helpful that Biden backs Alito’s point in his own response.
On Tuesday, Biden released an initial statement to the SCOTUS leak. He first notes that it’s unclear if the draft is genuine or the Court’s final decision (the Court has since confirmed its authenticity). But then Biden adds, “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.”
Some people might celebrate Biden’s statement. But make no mistake: It’s weak as hell. In particular, I’m lingering on the audacity of Biden to bring up voting. He states that it’s because, at a federal level, there need to be “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.”
All of that sounds nice, but remind me which party controls the White House right now? And the Senate? And the House? This opinion isn’t coming out of nowhere. Conservatives have been building up attacks against Roe and reproductive agency for decades. What the hell have Democrats been doing in the meantime?
Biden’s statement barely even mentions abortion or reproductive rights. In fact, the word “abortion” is only mentioned once. But honestly, this is unsurprising from a man whose own record on abortion is wildly inconsistent at best. And perhaps this whole situation — the pending SCOTUS decision, Biden’s history, and his response — illuminates what many abortion advocates have been saying for awhile.
The United States’s entire political system is not set up to honor reproductive agency. Regardless of which party holds power, Roe has always been in danger. The fight to preserve abortion access may force a radical reimagining of this country’s political structure.