WASHINGTON — During Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings as a Supreme Court justice in 2018, then-Sen. Kamala Harris asked Kavanaugh if she thought a woman’s privacy rights included deciding to end her pregnancy. Kavanaugh refused to answer.
Now that Kavanaugh has been one of the justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade – who decriminalized abortion in 1973 – and that the senator is the vice president of the country, Harris is warning that the court’s decision could lead to limits on other rights, just as she warned in those sessions.
Speaking on the subject with a passion derived from her personal and professional experiences, Harris has spent recent weeks sounding the alarm that the Supreme Court could now pave the way for other restrictions, from contraception to in vitro fertilization, intermarriage of the same sex and the right to vote.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas appeared to validate those concerns, writing in an addendum to the Roe ruling that the high court “should reconsider” earlier decisions such as access to contraceptives and gay marriage.
Harris has been one of the preeminent voices in the Joe Biden administration on abortion rights since May, when the draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade. On Friday, she learned of the final decision when he was traveling to Illinois for an event on maternal health, and immediately reframed his speech to reflect the new reality.
The decision “puts into question other rights that we thought were decided, like the right to use birth control, the right to same-sex marriage, the right to interracial marriage,” Harris told the event, adding that it would cause “a crisis in health care.” ”.
Being the government’s voice on the issue of abortion rights could serve Harris better than other areas that have been assigned to her and have not been very successful, such as immigration and strengthening the right to vote. On those two issues, bills have stalled in Congress, leading many to say the vice president and the White House should have done more.
Although as Vice President Harris symbolically presides over the Senate, she was unable to prevent Republicans from blocking the attempt to enroll Roe v. Wade as federal law. Still, Democrats hope the recent Supreme Court decision will embolden the voter base ahead of midterm elections in November, where their party faces headwinds.
Directly mentioning the political dimension of the issue after the Supreme Court announced its ruling, Harris declared: “You have the power to elect leaders who will defend and protect your rights. With your vote, you can act. You are the ones who have the last word.”