President Joe Biden, described by many left-wing commentators and Democrats as a “devout Catholic”, has reaffirmed his commitment to enshrining the decision of Roe v Wade into federal law, after many states in recent years have restricted access to abortions.
Firstly, what is Roe v Wade?
Roe v Wade, a decision of the United States Supreme Court in 1973, ruled that the right for a woman to choose if she has an abortion or not is protected in the Constitution of the United States, without excessive restrictions from the federal government.
The decision rules that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment also provides the right to privacy which protects the right to choose, however, it also declared that this right is not absolute and has to be balanced alongside the government’s interests in protecting the health of women and prenatal life.
The case came about after “Jane Roe”, a pregnant citizen of Texas, wanted an abortion whilst carrying her third child in 1969.
Abortions in Texas were completely illegal to perform unless the life of the mother was in danger.
Roe took the case to the District Court of the Northern District of Texas in front of a 3-judge panel, where she argued that the state’s laws were unconstitutional.
The court ruled in her favour, however, the decision was challenged by the state of Texas, who took the case to the US Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled in 7-2 in favour of Roe in a groundbreaking decision for women’s rights in the United States.
So, what has Biden committed to doing?
The White House released a statement on Friday, reaffirming President Biden’s commitment to his campaign promise of “codifying Roe v Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe”.
The previous administration saw put forward many “pro-life” judges to sit on the Supreme Court, as well as an increase in state legislatures passing restrictions on abortion.
However, the Democrats do not help themselves when it comes to this issue.
Over the last few years, many top Democrats, including now-President Joe Biden, have campaigned for abortions to be available even after the child has been born, with this law practised in the states of New York and California.
Many states now argue that if the Biden administration pushes ahead with codifying Roe v Wade into federal law, that this will impede on states’ rights to set their own rules and regulations on procedures such as abortion.
If the Biden administration is able to codify the decision, abortion rights activists argue that this victory would make it harder for state legislators to pass laws that restrict abortion, which many states have been doing in the past 4 years.
Will the Biden administration follow through on this promise?
President Biden, who has been labelled by many as a devout Catholic, is determined to push ahead, going against his religious beliefs and teachings, to pursue a policy loved by the majority of his party.