US President Joe Biden on Friday criticized the US Supreme Court ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, saying the health and life of American women are now at risk.
"It's a sad day for the court and for the country," Biden said in a White House address after the ruling, which he said was taking the country back 150 years.
Biden promised to go on fighting for reproductive rights but said no executive order can guarantee a woman’s right to choose.
He urged voters to send lawmakers to Congress who will work to codify abortion rights as the law of the land.
"This fall, Roe is on the ballot."US President Joe Biden
"Personal freedoms are on the ballot," Biden said, referring to the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal nationally.
Biden made a point of calling for any protests to remain peaceful. "No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable," he said.
"This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart-wrenching," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues - attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans," said former US President Barack Obama.
Former President Donald Trump, on the other hand, praised the ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.
"This is following the Constitution, and giving rights back when they should have been given long ago," he said. "This brings everything back to the states where it has always belonged."
Reactions from around the world
"I am very disappointed, because women's rights must be protected," said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "And I would have expected America to protect such rights."
"I think it's a big step backwards," said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "I've always believed in a woman's right to choose and I stick to that view and that is why the UK has the laws that it does."
"Abortion is a fundamental right for women," said French President Emmanuel Macron. "I would like to express solidarity with all the women whose freedom has today been compromised by the decision of the US Supreme Court"
"Sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation of a life of choice, empowerment and equality for the world's women and girls," spokesman Stephane Dujarric for UN Director-General Antonio Guterres told reporters. "Restricting access to abortion does not prevent people from seeking abortion, it only makes it more deadly."
The Vatican released a statement following the ruling praising the decision, saying that the defense of human life could not be confined to individual rights because life is a matter of "broad social significance".