President Joe Biden, like so many others on the left, reacted with outrage at a leaked draft copy of an impending Supreme Court ruling — not the illegal and unprecedented leaking, mind you, but that the ruling would overturn that 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and return the issue of abortion to the state level to be regulated.
For all of Biden’s current expressed opposition to overturning Roe, however, he previously supported legislation that would have done exactly that when he was a Democratic senator from Delaware, Fox News reported.
Biden condemns apparent overturning of Roe v. Wade precedent
It was Monday evening when Politico issued a bombshell report on a leaked draft copy of the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which deals with a challenged Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
In that draft opinion, which has been confirmed as authentic but not final by the Supreme Court, Alito essentially struck down the precedents enshrining abortion as a protected federal right set by Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
President Biden wasted little time in releasing a statement Tuesday morning to condemn the apparent impending demise of those pro-abortion precedents and emphasized three main points in doing so.
First, he noted that his administration had argued against overturning Roe and Casey and said, “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”
Second, he pointed out that his administration was already taking steps to legally fight state-level legislation restricting the right to abortions, and, third, he called upon the American people to elect more “pro-choice” legislators to Congress in order to have sufficient numbers to pass a national abortion rights bill that he would happily sign into law.
Biden supported overturning Roe in 1980s
That is a vastly different position than he had staked out 30 years ago, according to Fox News, when he had, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, signed on in support of a constitutional amendment proposed in 1982 by then-Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that would have legislatively overturned the Roe v. Wade decision from nearly a decade earlier.
Had that proposal, dubbed the Human Life Federalism Amendment, actually been passed by both chambers of Congress and been ratified by the requisite number of states, it would have granted “concurrent power to Congress and the States to restrict and prohibit abortions.”
Further, the proposed amendment directed “that a provision of a State law which is more restrictive than a conflicting provision of a law of Congress shall govern,” meaning state laws would be superior to federal law on the issue, and, finally, it declared that “the Constitution does not secure a right to abortion.”
Court’s decision on matter not yet final
Fox News noted that then-Sen. Biden, who was the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had voted in the 10-7 majority to advance that proposal out of the committee, a vote he later described as being a difficult one for him that caused a conflict between his Roman Catholic faith and his view that his religious beliefs shouldn’t be imposed on others.
As previously noted, the leaked draft copy of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling has not yet been finalized and, in truth, nobody knows for certain how all nine justices will align on the case, but if what has been published holds the same, then it looks like Roe and Casey have been overturned and states will once again have the right to regulate abortions as they best see fit.