President Joe Biden marked the 49th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling establishing abortion rights in the United States by again urging that those rights be enshrined in federal law.
"The constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago today is under assault as never before," Biden said in a statement on Saturday in which he was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris.
"It is a right we believe should be codified into law, and we pledge to defend it with every tool we possess."
The constitutional right laid out in the 1973 high court ruling has come under steady attack as laws in a number of Republican-led states have made it increasingly difficult for women to obtain abortions.
"In recent years, we have seen efforts to restrict access to reproductive health care increase at an alarming rate," the Biden-Harris statement said, citing recent laws in Texas, Mississippi, and other states.
Abortion rights advocates fear that the current Supreme Court, including three conservative justices named by former president Donald Trump, will excoriate—or eliminate—that right.
In Washington, thousands of anti-abortion activists attended an annual rally on the National Mall with their hopes raised that the conservative-majority court will do exactly that.
"In the coming months we anticipate a monumental decision from the Supreme Court," said Julia Letlow, a Republican congresswoman from Louisiana.
A president's ability to affect the law is limited, but Congress has the power to pass laws providing some protection to abortion rights.
"The Biden-Harris Administration strongly supports efforts to codify Roe, and we will continue to work with Congress" on such legislation, the White House statement said.
It added: "We must ensure that our daughters and granddaughters have the same fundamental rights that their mothers and grandmothers fought for and won on this day, 49 years ago." (AFP)