(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday lambasted last month’s Supreme Court ruling scrapping constitutional protections for abortion access and highlighted state laws restricting or banning the procedure.
In a visit to Indiana, where a 10-year-old girl who was raped then obtained an abortion after being unable to get the procedure in Ohio, Harris singled out legislation that outlaws abortions without exceptions for sexual assault or incest, calling such laws “outrageous” in light of the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“Around our country, we are seeing, indeed, many states since the Dobbs decision and attempting even before to criminalize health professionals, to punish women. States that are creating no exception for rape or incest,” Harris said.
“The idea that in some states, after a child or a woman or a man, but in particular on this case of abortion, a woman or a child would have endured such an act of violence — and then to suggest that she would not have the autonomy and authority to make a decision about what happens to her body is outrageous,” the vice president said. “So, these are the parameters of this issue.”
The remarks were just the latest Harris has made criticizing the high court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that first legalized abortion nationwide. The Dobbs ruling was widely celebrated by conservatives but met with fierce backlash from abortion rights supporters.
Harris last weekend visited Pennsylvania and is expected to continue traveling as a top administration voice on the need to ensure access to abortion.
After some initial criticism from abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers, the Biden administration has been looking to show a restless base that it is taking the issue seriously. The president recently signed executive orders to help ensure access both to interstate travel for abortion and to abortion medication via mail.
Some progressives and activists argue there is more to do, including opening abortion clinics on federal land and expanding the Supreme Court.
Democrats have sought to rally their voters by tying last month’s ruling to other rights, particularly after Justice Clarence Thomas in a lone supporting argument also called into question constitutional protections for same-sex marriage and contraception access.
“Clarence Thomas said the quiet part out loud: that this puts at risk an individual’s right to make decisions about contraception, puts at risk the right to marry the person you love,” Harris said on Monday. “So, when we discuss this issue and when we contemplate what it means, understand that it could have a profound impact on just about everyone in our country who has any association or interest or concern about these various issues.”
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