White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre joined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace-hosted program “Deadline: White House” to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, calling justice Clarence Thomas’ reasoning a “chilling” indication of what is to come of other protected rights that are now being threatened.
Jean-Pierre, who took on her post last month after Jen Psaki’s departure, called it a “sad and stunning day,” which is likely to set back protections stemming from other cases — like 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut (right of married couples to obtain contraceptives), 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas (decriminalized same-sex relations) and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges (right to marriage equality) — “by generations.” On Friday, Thomas said the court would “reconsider” such cases, which are all enshrined by the constitutional right to privacy.
“It is chilling. What he wrote is absolutely chilling,” Jean-Pierre said. “If that were to happen, that would, for sure, for sure, change this country for decades, I mean, change it by generations.” She added, “I can’t think of a more dangerous agenda to put forth.”
“Not only is this rule so extreme — it is such an extreme ruling — it is also devastating, it is outrageous and it is just incredibly cruel,” the official continued, referencing that the original 1973 decision was made under Republican President Richard Nixon and has endured for 50 years under both parties. “It is going to create nightmare situations for so many women, so many people across the country.”
The secretary reiterated President Joe Biden’s words from Thursday’s speech, emphasizing that Congress needs to codify the ruling in order to protect people’s right to abortion, especially in states with trigger bans in effect.
Jean-Pierre added that aside from increasing voting turnout, the administration will focus its efforts on Department of Justice protections for women who cross state lines seeking an abortion and accessible, FDA-approved medication and contraception for those who need it.
She concluded: “The way that we’re going to restore Roe is to make sure that Congress acts. They need to act. They need to make sure that we make this into law … And, again, if that is not possible, we have to make our voices heard in November.”