Vice President Kamala Harris stresses need for “pro-choice Congress” to protect abortion rights

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Washington — Vice President Kamala Harris underscored the importance of voters casting their ballots in the November midterm elections for a “pro-choice Congress” that will enshrine the right to an abortion into law after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

In an interview with “Face the Nation” that aired Sunday, Harris said the ruling from the high court last month cleared the way for states to enact new laws restricting or outright banning abortion.

“So what does this mean?” she said. “It means that we’re looking at elections coming up in 120-something days, they’re going to be about who serves in Congress and we need a pro-choice Congress.”

Harris stressed that voters who support abortion rights not only need to vote for candidates seeking federal office, but also those running in down-ballot races. 

“You don’t have to advocate or believe that this is right for you or your family, but don’t let the government make the decision for her family, whoever she may be,” the vice president said. “It means state offices, governors, secretaries of state, attorneys general. It means local races, who’s going to be your DA, who’s going to be your sheriff, enforcing laws that are being passed to criminalize medical health providers, and maybe even the women who seek the service.”

The Supreme Court’s decision striking down the constitutional right to an abortion sent shockwaves throughout the nation as the procedure became banned in several Republican-led states with so-called trigger laws on the books or curtailed in others that imposed restrictions in anticipation of a ruling.

President Biden took unilateral action Friday that aims to combat potential penalties women seeking an abortion may face in the wake of the decision, though the administration is limited in what it can do to protect abortion access nationwide.

Mr. Biden has come under criticism from progressive lawmakers and activists for not being more aggressive on the issue of abortion, but the court’s decision has also sparked questions of why Democrats did not enshrine the right into federal law when they controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress under former President Barack Obama.

Harris said she and her fellow Democrats believed the issue was settled, which shows why the decision has jolted the nation.

“We certainly believe that certain issues are just settled. Certain issues are just settled,” she said. “And that’s why I do believe that we are living, sadly, in real unsettled times.”

The vice president said the Supreme Court’s rolling back of a constitutional right has sparked a “deep sense of outrage” among the American people.

“Sit back and think about that for a moment. The highest court in our land just took a constitutional right that was recognized for women to make decisions about their own bodies,” she said. “And so now we are looking at a situation where the government can tell a person in our country what they can and cannot do with their own body. You don’t have to agree that you want to or would advocate that your loved one would have an abortion to agree that the government should not be making that decision for any individual woman.”

The 5-4 ruling reversing Roe has also heightened criticism of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who were appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Donald Trump and reassured senators during their confirmation hearings and closed-door meetings they understood the importance of respecting long-standing precedents.

Asked whether she believed the two justices should be impeached for misleading senators, Harris, who served in the Senate and on the Judiciary Committee, said she never believed they were speaking truthfully.

“I start from the point of experience of having served in the Senate. I never believed them,” she said.”I didn’t believe them. So I voted against.”



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