California Sen. Kamala Harris has made it clear where she stands on the issue of reproductive rights. On Tuesday, the 2020 hopeful rolled out a plan that would require that states that aim to violate Roe v. Wade, the legislation that gave women a right to choose what happens to their body, get pre-approval from the Department of Justice before enacting any anti-abortion laws or practices.
“States have mandated that women submit to invasive ultrasounds, passed laws requiring survivors of sexual assault to carry their rapist’s child to term, and placed onerous and medically unnecessary restrictions on health clinics,” the proposal states. “These restrictions do nothing to make people healthier or safer. Their sole purpose is limiting access to abortion.”
States like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Missouri have all been in the news lately for voting to introduce new measures that stand in direct opposition from what was already decided in the Supreme Court more than 65 years ago. Under Harris’ plan, the DOJ will have the final say on if those laws can actually go into effect.
For those states introducing legislation that denies a woman’s access to an abortion, they must first prove that it comports with Roe v. Wade. If it doesn’t, the DOJ will deny approval. Any change that is not cleared will be legally unenforceable. Protections will also be put into place to ensure that an administration that does not support a women’s right to choose, will not have the authority to overturn abortions. If they do, patients will have the ability to sue.
Harris’ proposal also states that she has plans to protect women’s overall health by making sure Planned Parenthood receives adequate funding for its health services and nominate judges who “respect Roe v. Wade.” She’ll also make sure that Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program receives grants, “and immediately roll back dangerous and discriminatory rules the Administration put in place to limit access to contraception and safe abortion in the United States and around the world.”
Harris believes that her plan goes a step beyond codifying Roe v. Wade which is necessary given the recent actions by several states.