Vice President Harris stumps for abortion 

Vice President Kamala Harris Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a rally at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 7 facility on Jan. 22, 2024, in Big Bend, Wisconsin. The rally was the first of the nationwide Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour. | Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

During a speech to kick off her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour, Vice President Kamala Harris called on Congress to expand and legalize abortion nationwide by codifying the rules that existed in the Roe v. Wade era.

Under the now-defunct Roe v. Wade decision, most state restrictions on abortion were considered unconstitutional. After the Supreme Court overturned the ruling in June 2022, more than 20 states passed legislation to place restrictions on abortion, including more than a dozen states that prohibited abortion in almost all circumstances.

“To truly protect reproductive freedoms, we must restore the protections of Roe,” Harris, who is vying for another term as vice president on President Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign, said during an event Monday in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

“What the United States Supreme Court took, Congress can put back in place,” Harris added. “... When Congress passes a law that puts back the protections of Roe, Joe Biden will sign it.”

Harris’ statements echo previous remarks made by Biden, who has been urging Congress to codify Roe v. Wade ever since the ruling was overturned a year and a half ago. In his 2023 State of the Union address, the president said “Congress must restore the right that was taken away” when the Supreme Court overturned the precedent.

In the vice president’s speech, which she delivered on the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Harris characterized the overturning of Roe as taking away “a constitutional right from the people of America — from the women of America.”

“Freedom is not to be given,” Harris said. “It is not to be bestowed. It is ours by right — by right. And that includes the freedom to make decisions about one’s own body; not the government telling you what to do.”

VP slams pro-life lawmakers, Trump

Harris further accused pro-life lawmakers in state legislatures and Congress of being “extremists” for supporting abortion restrictions. She also derided former President Donald Trump, who she said “handpicked three Supreme Court justices because he intended for them to overturn Roe.”

Trump nominated three of the six U.S. Supreme Court justices who ultimately voted to overturn Roe v. Wade: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. In a Fox News town hall on Jan. 10, the former president said he was “proud” to nominate justices who overturned the ruling.

“For 54 years, they were trying to get Roe v. Wade terminated and I did it — and I’m proud to have done it,” Trump said when asked a question from a pro-life voter. 

“Nobody else was going to get that done but me,” Trump added. “And we did it, and we did something that was a miracle.”

The former president told the voter that if he is elected to the presidency again, “we’re going to get something that people want, that people like” and “I think you’re going to be happy in the end.” However, he declined to get into specifics and noted that “you have to win elections; otherwise you’re going to be back to where you were.”

Abortion front and center

Biden’s campaign team has made abortion a central theme of the president’s 2024 reelection effort. On Jan. 22, Biden doubled down on his pro-abortion agenda with a multi-point plan to expand surgical abortion, chemical abortion, and contraception throughout the country, including in pro-life states. 

The Biden campaign also released a new television advertisement on the same day that highlights the president’s support for abortion and criticizes Trump for his role in the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Although Biden is the nation’s second Catholic president, the Biden-Harris administration’s push to codify Roe v. Wade is at complete odds with the position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities referred to the codification legislation as “the most unjust and extreme abortion on demand bill our nation has ever seen.”

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