Roe v Wade: Supreme Court's decision met with celebration and disbelief

President Joe Biden says court's ruling sets US back 150 years

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President Joe Biden led pro-choice advocates in expressing outrage over the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade, while Republicans heralded it as a "historic victory".

The high court on Friday overturned the 1973 ruling that legalised a woman's right to an abortion.

"Now with Roe gone, let's be very clear: the health and life of women this nation are now at risk," Mr Biden said from the White House. He said that Friday's ruling set the US back 150 years.

Vice President Kamala Harris said the decision marks the first time Americans have lost a constitutional right.

"This is a healthcare crisis because, understand, millions of women in America will go to bed tonight without access to the health care and reproductive care that they had this morning," she said in Illinois.

And US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said women growing up in the US today do not have the same rights as their mothers.

“As a woman, as a mother as a grandmother, to see young girls now have fewer rights than their mums or even their grandmothers, is something very sad for our country,” Ms Pelosi told reporters.

But the ruling was a monumental victory for Republicans who, for decades, fought to confirm conservative justices to court and pass restrictive abortion laws at the state level.

Former president Donald Trump told Fox News that he believed the decision “is something that will work out for everybody” when asked about what he would say to pro-choice advocates.

“This brings everything back to the states, where it has always belonged,” he said.

When asked if he had played a role in Roe v Wade's reversal, Mr Trump said: “It was God's decision.”

As a presidential candidate, Mr Trump vowed to nominate judges to the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v Wade. All three of his nominations — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — were part of the majority opinion.

"It was three justices named by one president, Donald Trump, who were the core of today's decision to upend the scales of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country," Mr Biden said.

Former vice president Mike Pence lauded the conservative justices “for having the courage of their convictions” and said “every state in the land” should ban abortions.

Mitch McConnell, who was US Senate majority leader during the confirmation processes of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett, called the court's ruling “courageous and correct”.

“This is a historic victory for the constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society,” he said in a statement.

Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator who voted to confirmed Mr Gorsuch and Mr Kavanaugh, expressed dismay over the decision.

“I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject it,” he said in a statement.

Updated: June 30, 2022, 3:49 PM
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