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Biden Speaks After Supreme Court Overturn Roe V. Wade. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 24, 2022 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Any moment now you see the scene at the White House. We will hear from the President United States, his reaction, his reaction and disappointment with the Supreme Court ruling today that ends the federal right to an abortion, the Supreme Court throwing out Roe v. Wade, wiping it off the books after 50 years it being a legal precedent.

Let's get some reaction to this. Let's begin with Kelly Robinson, the executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Kelly Robinson, thank you for your time today. What do those on your side of this debate, the abortion rights movement want to need to hear from the President of the United States right now?

KELLY ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND: We need him to declare that this is a crisis. It is outrageous that the Supreme Court has taken away a right, a constitutional right for the first time ever. And we're looking at a moment where we are going to experience a nationwide health care crisis. It's over half the country bans access to abortion care. This is a moment where we don't just need him to lead. We need him to be a champion for people. And I want to remind folks that our side of this issue is 80 percent. Eighty percent of the country supports access to abortion care. We need the President to stand with us.

KING: And so Kelly this decision obviously, as you angry and disappointed what happens state by state now, what is Planned Parenthood asking its supporters to do and what will the organization try to do to preserve as much access as possible in this new environment?

ROBINSON: Look, our first priority is providing as much care as possible and that is going to be challenging and impossible in some ways in this climate. We know that 26 states are going to move swiftly to ban abortion access, 13 immediately because they already have trigger laws on the books. That's 36 million women that this impacts, 36 million pregnant people.


So our first job is to get as many people to care as possible. And folks are looking for that, you can go to, and it will --, and you can find the resources that you need.

And secondly, we have to stop the bad things from continuing. We know that some states are moving to special legislative session. We're getting loud here in D.C. and all across the country tonight at 5:00 p.m. local time, because we've got to make our voices heard. We have to use this as a galvanizing moment for our movement to ensure that we're fighting back and turning the tide on what's currently happening.

KING: Kelly Robinson, the executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, thank you for your time today. We will stay in touch as this conversation and debate continues.

As we wait for the President, let's get a different perspective now on today's dramatic ruling Marjorie Dannenfelser joins our conversation. She's the president of the anti-abortion group, the Susan B. Anthony, Pro-Life America. Marjorie, you're celebrating on this day, years and years of effort to get to this decision, Roe v. Wade wiped off the books. But what happens tomorrow? Will the Susan B. Anthony organization, will other allies now go state by state and say it's a state with a ban on abortion after six weeks, will you push the legislature and the governor to wipe it out completely? What is your next move?

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, PRESIDENT, SUSAN B. ANTHONY PRO-LIFE AMERICA: Well, the move is that now that after 50 years, the will of the people will be allowed to make its way into the law through elected legislatures to be as ambitious for life and for mothers as we can in every single state. So every single state looks different from the other. But we of course will move to protect as many unborn children and their mothers serving them as we possibly can.

The restoration of democracy will, I believe, despite what we see in front of the Supreme Court right now lead to more civility in our discourse. We will all get to argue the merits of the case and the pelvic square. And we will get to a place where we have a consensus that may not please the pro, the pro-choice crowd or the complete pro- life crowd. But we'll have a consensus. That's what America does when it has a deep disagreement.

And so one thing I would like to address what Wendy said, you got to return a constitutional amendment. That begs the question. The Supreme Court has just said it is simply not found in the constitution's history or tradition. It's not a constitutional right. And therefore the states have an ability to acknowledge what pro-choice people even believe, which is most abortions after the first trimester should be stopped with certain exceptions. That's really where America in general is, despite the two ends that are arguing.

KING: Well, let me ask you quickly as we await the President then. In this new world, if a state outlaws abortion, that's one thing, but do you believe it should be criminalized as in you go to jail? Marjorie, I'm sorry, I'm going to have to interrupt you, the President of the United States walking now in the event at the White House. We will continue the conversation. Thank you. JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today is a, it's not hyperbole to suggest a very solemn moment. Today, the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized.

They didn't limit it. They simply took it away. That's never been done to a right so important to so many Americans. But they did it. And it's a sad day for the Court and for the country.

Fifty years ago, Roe v. Wade was decided and has been the law of the land since then. This landmark case protected a woman's right to choose, her right to make intensely personal decisions with her doctor, free from the inter -- from interference of politics.

It reaffirmed basic principles of equality that women have the power to control their own destiny. And it reinforced the fundamental right of privacy, the right of each of us to choose how to live our lives.

Now, with Roe gone, let's be very clear, the health and life of women in this nation are now at risk.

As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as Vice President and now as President of the United States, I've studied this case carefully. I've overseen more Supreme Court confirmations than anyone today, where this case was always discussed.

I believe Roe v. Wade was the correct decision as a matter of constitutional law, an application of the fundamental right to privacy and liberty in matters of family and personal autonomy.

It was a decision on a complex matter that drew a careful balance between a woman's right to choose earlier in her pregnancy and the state's ability to regulate later in her pregnancy. A decision with broad national consensus that most Americans of faiths and backgrounds found acceptable and that had been the law of the land for most of the lifetime of Americans today.


And it was a constitutional principle upheld by justices appointed by Democrat and Republican Presidents alike.

Roe v. Wade was a seven to two decision written by a justice appointed by a Republican President, Richard Nixon. In the five decades that followed Roe v. Wade, justices appointed by Republican Presidents from Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, George W. Bush were among the justices who voted to uphold the principles set forth in Roe v. Wade.

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.

Make no mistake, this decision is the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law. It's a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court, in my view. The Court has done what it has never done before, expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans that had already been recognized.

The Court's decision to do so will have real and immediate consequences. State laws banning abortion are automatically taking effect today, jeopardizing the health of millions of women, some without exceptions. So extreme that women could be punished for protecting their health. So extreme that women and girls who are forced to bear their rapist's child, of the child of consequence.

It's a -- it just -- it just stuns me. So extreme that doctors will be criminalized for fulfilling their duty to care. Imagine having a young woman having to carry the child of incest, as a consequence of incest. No option.

Too often the case that poor women are going to be hit the hardest. It's cruel. In fact, the Court laid out state laws criminalizing abortion that go back to the 1800s as rationale, the Court literally taking America back 150 years.

This a sad day for the country, in my view, but it doesn't mean the fight is over. Let me be very clear and unambiguous, the only way we can secure a woman's right to choose and the balance that existed is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law.

No executive action from the President can do that. And if Congress, as it appears, lacks the vote -- votes to do that now, voters need to make their voices heard. This fall, we must elect more senators and representatives who will codify a woman's right to choose into federal law once again, elect more state leaders to protect this right at the local level.

We need to restore the protections of Roe as law of the land. We need to elect officials who will do that. This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they're all on the ballot.

Until then, I will do all in my power to protect a woman's right in states where they will face the consequences of today's decision. While the Court's decision casts a dark shadow over a large swath of the land, many states in this country still recognize a woman's right to choose.

So if a woman lives in a state that restricts abortion, the Supreme Court's decision does not prevent her from traveling from her home state to the state that allows it. It does not prevent a doctor in that state, in that state from treating her.

As the Attorney General has made clear, women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care they need. And my administration will defend that bedrock right.

If any state or local official, high or low, tries to interfere with a woman's exercising her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack. [12:45:11]

My administration will also protect a woman's access to medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, like contraception, which is essential for preventative healthcare, mifepristone, which the FDA approved 20 years ago to safely end early pregnancies and is commonly used to treat miscarriages.

Some states are saying that they'll try to ban or severely restrict access to these medications. But extremist governors and state legislators who are looking to block the mail or search a person's medicine cabinet or control a woman's actions by tracking data on her apps she uses are wrong and extreme and out of touch with the majority of Americans.

The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote to me and Vice President Harris stressing that these laws are not based on, are not based on evidence and asking us to act to protect access to care. They say by limiting access to these medicines, maternal mortality will climb in America. That's what they say.

Today, I'm directing the Department of Health and Human Services to take steps to ensure that these critical medications are available to the fullest extent possible and that politicians cannot interfere in the decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor. And my administration will remain vigilant as the implications of this decision play out.

I've warned about how this decision risks the broader right to privacy for everyone. That's because Roe recognized the fundamental right to privacy that has served as the basis for so many more rights that we have come to take, we've come to take for granted that are ingrained in the fabric of this country, the right to make the best decisions for your health, the right to use birth control, a married couple in the privacy of their bedroom, for God's sake, the right to marry the person you love.

Now, Justice Thomas said as much today. He explicitly called to reconsider the right of marriage equality, the right of couples to make their choices on contraception. This is an extreme and dangerous path the Court is now taking us on.

Let me close with two points. First, I call on everyone, no matter how deeply they care about this decision, to keep all protests peaceful, peaceful, peaceful, peaceful. No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable. Threats and intimidation are not speech. We must stand against violence in any form regardless of your rationale.

Second, I know so many of us are frustrated and disillusioned that the Court has taken something away that's so fundamental. I know so many women are now going to face incredibly difficult situations. I hear you. I support you. I stand with you.

The consequences and the consensus of the American people, core principles of equality, liberty, dignity, and the stability of the rule of law, demand that Roe should not have been overturned.

With this decision, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court shows how extreme it is, how far removed they are from the majority of this country. They have made the United States an outlier among developed nations in the world. But this decision must not be the final word.

My administration will use all of its appropriate lawful powers. But Congress must act. And with your vote, you can act. You can have the final word. This is not over.

Thank you very much. I'll have more to say on this in weeks to come. Thank you.

KING: The President of the United States leaving an event at the White House. This is not over he said of today's Supreme Court decision wiping Roe v. Wade off the books after 50 years of American legal precedent. President called it a sad day for the court and the country. And he said voters need to make get their voices heard. This fall Roe is on the ballot. The President also addressing the many new steps, new questions in the legal and political frontier that began today about can you send medication, medical abortion pills over state lines, what about contraception, and what about fights to come?


Let's start Kasie Hunt with the President essentially saying I'll do what I can. But my powers are limited, making clear that he and the Democrats want to make this issue one come November.

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, they absolutely do. I think the question now is going to be what can the White House do? I mean, there are more I have laid out some of the options that they potentially have, but their options are limited. He's right, that this at the end of the day is something that's decided politically, you know what, it's decided politically over a long period of time. But those justices, each one on the court, that's a political decision, and it's a consequence of the way people vote.

And, you know, I think for Democrats, you know, the big question is, and I think, again, from a political perspective, there are a lot of laws that are about to go on the books that are more extreme than the wide, vast middle of the country. Obviously, this is an incredibly emotional and divisive issue. People have very strong opinions on either side. But when you get into these extremes, there are political risks. And I think Democrats are really going to focus on that.

KING: And now let's bring in Phil Mattingly at the White House. Phil, the President saying the only way to reverse the decision is for Congress to essentially codify Roe v. Wade, and he knows he doesn't have the votes right now. So in the meantime, essentially saying his Justice Department would be the point agency watching, particularly he made the issue that if a woman is in a state that has outlawed abortion, and wants to travel to a state to get access to abortion, he says the Justice Department will be watching to see if politicians at any level, try to block that or criminalize that. PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, criminalizing travel has been a significant part of the preparation that's been taking place over the course of the last several weeks, even several months here at the White House inside the administration getting ready for this moment. The President also talking about the availability for individuals to have access to abortion pills, or abortion related pills is something that his agencies and regulatory side of things have been working on as well, that shows the limitations. But it shows that they've been prepared for this moment.

I think more broadly, it shows the President very clearly trying to separate this Supreme Court from history and trying to make very clear that at some point, something needs to be done if they want to change the dynamics of what they've seen, at least from the Democratic Party's perspective.

KING: One of the reasons to bring that, Phil Mattingly, thank you, at the White House, my apologies. Let's bring the conversation back. And one of the reasons people in the anti-abortion movement have pushed these state restrictions as they talk about technological and medical advances, you know. And so let's reconsider that.

The President touched on another piece of that talking about he's going to try to make sure that you cannot track if a woman is using an app to find out, A, can I order this medication? Or B, where do I have to travel if I want access to an abortion? That opens up in this idea of data privacy, data tracking? That's another, welcome to the new frontier.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, he was outlining all of the tools that he can use with the power of the presidency, to basically prevent women from being criminalized, although he has limited avenues to do so. I thought that the speech was somber, it was serious, but also noteworthy because it seemed like he was trying not to inflame people, right? He specifically said no matter how you feel, there's no excuse for violence.

But still speaking to the seriousness of this moment, in plain terms, he said, there may be women who might be forced to bear their rapists child. It is just -- it was powering at some points, but also, I think, not doing anything to sort of add fuel to the fire.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST & SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: I was just talking about the distinct position that Joe Biden is in having been Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, he voted, and so many members of the Supreme Court and he talks about the dangerous path that the court is on now. And I think that's exactly right. It's such a different court. And he's a person kind of alerting people to what could come next.

HUNT: And it's such a different moment for the country too in just how polarized we are on so many other issues, right? I mean, this for the longest time was the culture war issue. Frankly, it had faded the background for a period of time and now all of a sudden we're thrust back into. This is literally drawing lines on the map, distinguishing states from each other. LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: One thing about his speech, I mean, to Eva's point, yes, he did say don't engage in violent protests. But he did name, Donald Trump, which the President doesn't always do. And he made very clear that it was his justices that he appointed that were key in making this decision.

KING: Right. An important point by the President at the end about peaceful protests, remember, there's a man charged right now with threatening Brett Kavanaugh. So protests, please protest if you have an opinion on this, but do it peacefully.

I just want to interrupt our conversation about the Supreme Court to show you right there. That is the House of Representatives right now voting on the bipartisan gun bill designed to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people. That bill passed the Senate last night. If it passes the House, we expect to become the first major federal gun safety law in decades. So on a day where we see the country having a big divide, there is this one issue where you had a number of Republicans in the Senate, 15 I believe, we'll see how many votes in the House were actually a consensus and actual compromise.


BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes, no, this is definitely a historic day for this bill. I mean, for the fact that Democrats and Republicans were able to come together on it, the substance of the bill is much more narrow than what Democrats would have liked. And what also a majority of the public feels is popular in terms of, you know, assault weapons bans or universal background checks. Those are very popular and those aren't in this bill. What is in this bill is a way it's closing the boyfriend loophole for at least five years. So that is one of the more significant elements.

KING: Again, the House voting on final passage. Now that bill would then go to the President of the United States.

Appreciate your time in the very busy breaking news Inside Politics. Fredricka Whitfield picks up our coverage after a short break. Try to have a nice weekend.