Washington: US President Joe Biden says he will do everything in his power to defend a woman’s right to have an abortion in states where it will be banned. His pledge follows a stunning US Supreme Court decision announced on Friday that overturns Roe v. Wade and ends nearly 50 years of constitutionally protected abortion. The ruling is expected to result in abortion bans in about half of the states.
Biden decried the “extreme” court’s ruling, saying politicians should not be allowed to interfere with a decision that should be made between a woman and her doctor. He called the decision “wrong, extreme and out of touch”.
He pleaded with abortion supporters to keep protests peaceful. He also urged Congress to act and voters to go to the polls to make their displeasure over the end of Roe v. Wade known.
Biden said: “You can have the final word. This is not over.” The only abortion clinic in West Virginia is no longer performing abortions as of Friday. Katie Quinonez, executive director of Women’s Health Centre of West Virginia, said the US Supreme Court’s ruling issued on Friday that allows states to ban abortion is making an immediate, hard-felt impact.
The state has an abortion ban law on the books that makes providing abortions a felony carrying three to 10 years of prison time. “Roe has never been enough, but in states like West Virginia, it was the only thing protecting abortion access,” she said. She says West Virginians will be forced to travel hundreds or thousands of miles away from home to access health care and that marginalised communities will be hurt the most.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Republican Gov. Jim Justice applauded the high court’s decision on Friday.
Justice said he “will not hesitate” to call the Legislature into a special session if the state abortion law needs to be clarified. US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will work to protect and advance reproductive freedom. He made the statement on Friday, shortly after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion constitutionally legal.
The apex court’s ruling means states will be able to ban abortion, and about half are expected to do so. Merrick said in a statement that the agency would protect providers and those seeking abortions in states where it is legal. He also said he would stand by the approved use by the Food and Drug Administration of the drug Mifepristone for medication abortions.
More than 90 per cent of abortions take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than half are now done with pills, not surgery, according to data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.