President Joe Biden asked, 'What are the next things that are going to be attacked?'
President Joe Biden on Wednesday said that the potential Supreme Court decision in the Mississippi abortion ban case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, leaked in draft form and published by Politico on Monday, could lead to a rollback of privacy rights in the United States.
The draft decision, if it is announced as final, could result in the overturning of the right to abortion in the United States affirmed by the court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.
"This is about a lot more than abortion," Biden said. He spoke of his questioning as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork during confirmation hearings in 1987. Biden spoke about the right to privacy and the landmark decision in 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut that affirmed it.
"This reminds me of the debate with Robert Bork. Bork believed the only reason you had any inherent rights is because the government gave them to you. If you go back and look at the opening comments with Bork-Biden, when I was questioning him as chairman, I said, I believe I have the rights that I have not because the government gave them to me, which you believe, but because I'm just a child of God, I exist," Biden said. "I delegated, by joining this union here, to delegate some rights I have to the government."
Remember, the debate we — you don't remember — but we had a debate about Griswold v. Connecticut. There had been a law saying a married couple could not purchase birth control in the privacy of their own bedroom and use it. Well, that got struck down. Griswold was thought to be a bad decision by Bork, and my guess is, the guys on the Supreme Court now. What happens if you have a state change the law saying that children who are LGBTQ can't be in classrooms with other children? Is that legit? Under the way that the decision's written? What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed in American history — in recent American history.
In the 1965 case, the court ruled that a state ban on the use of contraceptives violated the right to privacy within a marriage. The law had called for a fine for the use of contraception and prosecution for any person who assisted in obtaining contraception.
Ultimately, the Senate rejected Bork's extremist views and voted against his nomination on a bipartisan basis.
Experts have echoed Biden's concerns about how the repeal of Roe would affect access to contraception.
Priscilla Smith, a lecturer on law and reproductive justice at Yale Law School, told the Guardian, "If the draft becomes the real opinion, all of those issues – contraception, consensual sex and marriage rights – certainly are all at risk. They have definitely left the door wide open."
Wendy Parmet of the Center for Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University told the paper, "There are a lot of decisions that follow from the idea of a constitutional right to privacy. Once you throw down the best-known decision in that category of cases, every single other case is now up for grabs."
Republicans have already voiced their displeasure with Griswold, giving credence to Biden's concern that the "MAGA crowd" could further attack privacy rights. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in March released a video in which she called the decision legalizing contraception access as "constitutionally unsound."
All three Republicans currently running to be elected attorney general in Michigan recently voiced their opposition to Griswold.
Dana Nessel, the incumbent Michigan attorney general and a Democrat, called her opponents' position "terrifying."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.