WH: Biden ‘Committed to Codifying’ Roe v Wade Regardless of Miss. Case

WH: Biden 'Committed to Codifying' Roe v Wade Regardless of Miss. Case jen psaki stands at podium in briefing room White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks at a daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on May 17, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

By Fran Beyer | Monday, 17 May 2021 02:51 PM

President Joe Biden is "committed to codifying" the Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion, no matter how the Supreme Court decides the case of a restrictive Mississippi law, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

The high court agreed Monday to take on a 2018 Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks with limited exceptions.

"Over the last four years critical rights like the right to health care, the right to choose, have been under withering and extreme attack, including through draconian state laws," Psaki said at a news conference.

"The president and the vice president are devoted to ensuring that every American has access to health care including reproductive health care regardless of their income, race, health insurance status, or immigration status," she said.

"As such, the president is committed to codifying Roe … unrelated … to the outcome of this case," she said.

The Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, asks whether all pre-viability restrictions on abortion are unconstitutional.

Though the dispute is not a direct challenge to a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, in considering weakening protections for women who seek pre-viability abortions, the justices could remove some underpinnings of a woman's right to choose and lay the groundwork for more restrictions on abortion.

The Mississippi case will likely be argued in the fall, with a decision likely in the spring of 2022.

The high court justices had put off action on the case for several months. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an abortion-rights proponent, died just before the court's new term began in October. Her replacement, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, is an open opponent of abortion rights.

Barrett is one of three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump. The other two, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, voted in dissent last year to allow Louisiana to enforce restrictions on doctors that could have closed two of the state's three abortion clinics.

Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Ginsburg and the other three liberal justices, said the restrictions were virtually identical to a Texas law the court struck down in 2016.

According to The Hill, the Mississippi law is among hundreds of abortion restrictions that have been introduced recently in state legislatures across the country. This year, more than 500 abortion restrictions, including nearly 150 bans, were introduced in 46 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Of those, just over 60 measures have been enacted.

The Hill noted that passing a law to cement the precedent set by Roe v. Wade would require at least 10 GOP senators to vote with all 50 Democrats and independents. Only Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have made clear their support for the law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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