President Joe Biden on Friday denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a right to an abortion in all 50 U.S. states.
“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people.” Biden said, as he delivered a speech at the White House.
“It’s a sad day for the court, and for the country.”
See: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in landmark decision
Biden said no executive action can “secure a woman’s right to choose,” and Congress lacks the votes to codify the right to abortion into federal law, so voters need to “make their voices heard” in state and local races.
“This fall, Roe is on the ballot,” he said, referring to November’s midterm elections.
Related: Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade would boost Democratic turnout for midterm elections, analysts say
The president pledged to do everything in his power to protect abortion rights in states where women will face the consequences of the court’s ruling.
“If a woman lives in a state that restricts abortion, the Supreme Court’s decision does not prevent her from traveling from her home state to the state that allows it,” he said.
“It does not prevent a doctor in that state — in that state — from treating her. As the attorney general has made clear, women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek care they need.”
Biden said he would “fight” any state or local official who interferes with a woman’s travel, saying that would be a “deeply un-American attack” by the official.
The president also promised to work to protect access to contraception and drugs such as mifepristone, which is used to end early pregnancies and used to treat miscarriages.
“Today, I’m directing the Department of Health and Human Services to take steps to ensure these critical medications are available to the fullest extent possible,” he said.
In addition, Biden said his administration will “remain vigilant as the implications of this decision play out,” adding that he has “warned about how this decision risks a broader right to privacy for everyone.”
“Justice Thomas said as much today. He explicitly called to reconsider the right of marriage equality, the right of couples to make their choices on contraception,” Biden said, referring to a call from Justice Clarence Thomas for the high court to revisit other rulings.
The president urged all protestors to steer clear of violence.
“I call on everyone, no matter how deeply they care about this decision, to keep all protests peaceful — peaceful, peaceful, peaceful,” he said. “No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable.”
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The high court had been expected to overturn Roe after the leak in May of a draft majority opinion of the pending ruling, and Biden had criticized that draft opinion last month.
Biden didn’t take questions from reporters after delivering his speech.
“With your vote, you can act. You can have the final word. This is not over,” he said, as he concluded his remarks.
Reactions to the decision were falling mostly along party lines, with Biden’s fellow Democrats decrying the court’s move.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, described the ruling as “a slap in the face to women about using their own judgment to make their own decisions about their reproductive freedom.” Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, characterized it as “courageous and correct.”
See: ‘People will die’ vs. ‘courageous and correct’: Democrats and Republicans react to Roe v. Wade reversal
traded sharply higher Friday and were on track to end their three-week losing streak, as analysts said investors were reassessing the expected path for the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes.