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By Gerard V. Bradley, First Things, 1 . 12 . 21
Gerard V. Bradley is professor of law at the University of Notre Dame.
It is finally settled that Joseph Biden will become president of the United States on January 20 at about noon. His party, in its presidential platform, has promised to “codify the right to reproductive freedom.” At an October campaign event, Biden made the promise his own. Asked what he would do about abortion in light of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Biden noted the “expectation” that Barrett would vote to overrule Roe. He then declared: “The only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do.”
Democrats control the House of Representatives. As vice president, Kamala Harris will possess the tie-breaking vote in a Senate equally divided between the parties. In 2019, she co-sponsored the proposed Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have codified Roe. At least a couple of Republican senators (Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski) are also reasonably likely to vote to “codify” Roe. …