Vice President Kamala Harris addressed Republican attempts to paint Democrats as extremists on the issue of abortion and the rights of newborns on Sunday during an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation.
Ms Harris was speaking with the show’s host, Margaret Brennan, when the interviewer brought up repeated claims from Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz alleging that their Democratic enemies support a woman’s right to seek the procedure up until, during, and even after the moment of birth, more commonly known as murder.
The vice president interjected that those arguments were “ridiculous”.
She also rejected the idea that Democrats need to be “more precise” in their goals: “I am being precise. We need to put into law the protections of Roe v Wade.”
Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that protected abortion rights at the federal level for decades, was thrown out last year under the stewardship of the Supreme Court’s new hard-right majority. Now plagued by ethics concerns and allegations of taking financial gifts from wealthy conservative billionaires with business before the court, the justices threw America back into a national battle over abortion rights just before the 2022 midterms.
That ended up being a disaster for Republicans. Still predicting a “red wave” even into the early hours of Election Day, the GOP saw itself make only modest gains in the House now under the control of a paper-thin majority, while their party actually lost ground in the Senate — a rare occurrence given that the incumbent president’s party typically loses seats in such cycles.
It became clear in the weeks and months after the election that anger over the Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision tossing out the precedent enshrining abortion as a protected right had cost Republicans deeply in key races, particularly in states where the right was in real danger of being suspended or taken away.
Under Roe, no state or federal body could ban abortions prior to the moment when the fetus becomes viable for birth, typically after at least 20 weeks into the pregnancy. State laws then came into play; no state actually allows abortions “up until the moment of birth” unless the pregnancy is judged by doctors to be a threat to the mother’s life. Abortion after the moment of birth, which Republicans have repeatedly dishonestly insisted is supported by Democrats, would just be the murder of a child, which remains illegal in all 50 states.
Former President Donald Trump and other Republican misinformation artists have continued to spread the false claim, however, as they hope to win back skeptical independents and others on an issue that Democrats used to carry their party to a surprise victory last year.
"We’ve seen far too many Democrats embrace extreme positions on abortion: abortion up until the moment of birth and even, horrifically, after that,” Sen Ted Cruz said in 2020.
Broadly speaking, polling still shows that Americans support abortion rights. A Gallup poll released this summer found that 69 per cent of all Americans support protecting the procedure as a right during the first trimester, which ends at week 13. A further 37 per cent, the highest level ever recorded, say the procedure should be legal in all cases through 27 weeks into the pregnancy.
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