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Biden, Harris issue statements on leaked draft opinion that shows Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade

Biden issued a statement after Politico released a draft opinion that suggested the Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark abortion ruling.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the “basic fairness and the stability of our law demand" that the U.S. Supreme Court not overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide and said he would work to codify the right to abortion into federal law.

In a statement released a day after Politico released a draft opinion that suggested that the high court could be poised to overturn the ruling, Biden said he couldn't speak to the authenticity of the draft and said his administration is preparing for all eventualities for when the court ultimate rules.

Biden said a decision overturning Roe would raise the stakes for voters in November's heated midterm elections.

“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,” Biden said. “And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need 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.”

President Joe Biden's full statement on leaked draft opinion that suggests Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade

We do not know whether this draft is genuine, or whether it reflects the final decision of the Court.

With that critical caveat, I want to be clear on three points about the cases before the Supreme Court.

First, my administration argued strongly before the Court in defense of Roe v. Wade. We said that Roe is based on “a long line of precedent recognizing ‘the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty’… against government interference with intensely personal decisions.” 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, shortly after the enactment of Texas law SB 8 and other laws restricting women’s reproductive rights, I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court. We will be ready when any ruling is issued.

Third, 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. At the federal level, we will need 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."

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Speaking to reporters outside Air Force One Tuesday, Biden said if the final ruling from the supreme court is similar to what was in the draft opinion, it could push back several other rights as well. 

Biden's latest public comments on the possible end to Roe v. Wade

"If it becomes the law, and if what is written is what remains, it goes far beyond the concern of whether or not there is the right to choose," Biden said. "It goes to other basic rights: the right to marry, the right to determine a whole range of things." 

The president cited the constitutional right to privacy in his comments, referring to the Roe v. Wade ruling as an extension of that right. 

"There is a right to privacy in our constitution. I strongly believe there is, and I think the decision....in Roe was correct because of the right to privacy," Biden said. "There can be limitations on it, but it cannot be denied."

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After the authenticity of the leaked document was confirmed by Chief Justice John Roberts, Vice President Kamala Harris released her own statement, condemning Republicans across the country for "weaponizing the use of the law against women." 

More than a dozen states have "trigger laws" that would ban abortion immediately or soon after if Roe v Wade was overturned. Another nine have abortion bans passed, but it's unclear how quickly they would take effect. 

RELATED: Here are the states likely to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Vice President Kamala Harris' full statement on the leaked draft opinion

The United States Supreme Court has now confirmed that the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade is genuine.

Roe ensures a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. It also, at its root, protects the fundamental right to privacy. What is clear is that opponents of Roe want to punish women and take away their rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women.

The rights of all Americans are at risk. If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life. This is the time to fight for women and for our country with everything we have.

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