President Biden remains committed to "codifying" Roe v. Wade in law in light of the U.S. Supreme Court taking up a major abortion case, spokeswoman Jen Psaki says.
On Monday, the high court announced that it would consider the constitutionally of a 2018 Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after the 15th week of a woman's term. The law includes exceptions for medical emergencies and fetal abnormality. The justices in an order said they would limit the scope of the case to one question: Are all laws restricting pre-viability abortions unconstitutional?
It is the most significant abortion case in more than a decade and could lead to the dismantling of Roe, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Psaki, the White House press secretary, was asked Monday what the Biden administration would do if the law is upheld.
"I don't have a comment specific to the Supreme Court taking the case, but generally speaking, given this is a state law, I can say that, over the last four years, critical rights like the right to healthcare, the right to choose have been under withering and extreme attack, including through draconian state laws," she said.
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Psaki said, "are devoted to ensuring that every American has access to healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, regardless of their income, zip code, race, health insurance status, or immigration status."
"Reproductive healthcare" is a phrase used by the pro-choice community that encompasses abortion.
"The president is committed to codifying Roe," Psaki said, "regardless" of the "outcome of this case."
Theologian and seminary president Albert Mohler on Tuesday called the Supreme Court's action a "big development" and "good news" for the pro-life community. He noted that it takes four justices to take up a case – and that justices "tend to pick the cases that they think will be of the greatest constitutional importance."
"It is likely that those four justices who were behind the decision to grant a hearing to the case have reason to assume that the plaintiffs in this case arguing on behalf of the defense of human life have a very good opportunity to win," Mohler said on his podcast, The Briefing.
The Supreme Court likely will not overturn Roe in this specific case, Mohler said, but the pro-life community nevertheless should be encouraged. That's because this case could be a major step toward protecting unborn life, he added.
"Conservative pro-lifers should look at the development yesterday as very good news, for what I often refer to as the cumulative case theory of the pro-life movement," Mohler said. "That is that you will have pro-life legislation and pro-life lawyers working to erode Roe v. Wade step by step, law by law restriction by restriction, court precedent by court precedent. Of course, this could be a very, very big court precedent."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.