The Biden administration will work to codify Roe v. Wade in federal law and will nominate judges who respect that landmark decision, President Biden said Friday in a statement on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
The statement repeated promises Biden had made as a candidate, although it was the first time he addressed the subject as president. The statement also criticized the Trump administration’s policy on abortion.
The White House said the statement was from Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
“In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack,” the statement said. “We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care – regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe,” the statement said. “We are also committed to ensuring that we work to eliminate maternal and infant health disparities, increase access to contraception, and support families economically so that all parents can raise their families with dignity. This commitment extends to our critical work on health outcomes around the world.”
It concluded, “As the Biden-Harris Administration begins in this critical moment, now is the time to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that all individuals have access to the health care they need.”
A bill codifying Roe v. Wade in law that is passed by Congress and signed by Biden presumably would keep abortion legal nationwide even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe.
The 160-word statement did not mention the word “abortion” – a fact not overlooked by some pro-life activists.
“Guess what word isn’t even mentioned in Biden and Harris’s statement affirming Roe v. Wade on today’s anniversary of the ruling?” tweeted Karen Swallow Prior, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. “If you can’t bring yourself to even say it, then maybe ….”
Guess what word isn’t even mentioned in Biden and Harris’s statement affirming Roe v. Wade on today’s anniversary of the ruling?— Karen Swallow Prior (Notorious KSP) (@KSPrior) January 22, 2021
If you can’t bring yourself to even say it, then maybe ... https://t.co/6qy7GPIIBV
The statement was issued less than one week after former President Trump issued a proclamation naming Jan. 22 National Sanctity of Human Life Day.
“Since the beginning, my Administration has been dedicated to lifting up every American, and that starts with protecting the rights of the most vulnerable in our society — the unborn,” the Trump proclamation said. “On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we promise to continue speaking out for those who have no voice. We vow to celebrate and support every heroic mother who chooses life. And we resolve to defend the lives of every innocent and unborn child, each of whom can bring unbelievable love, joy, beauty, and grace into our Nation and the entire world.”
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.