Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the leaked draft opinion by the Supreme Court that would overturn the landmark ruling of Roe v Wade and effectively ban the right to an abortion in the United States as a “direct assault on freedom.”
On Tuesday evening, Harris made the remarks at a conference for EMILY’s List, a group that raises money for Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights.
“Those Republicans leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women,” she continued. “How dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body? How dare they? How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?”
Politico, on Monday evening reported on the leaked draft opinion of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito striking down the 1973 decision in Roe, which recognized a woman’s right to an abortion as constitutionally protected.
The event was Harris’ first public appearance since testing positive for Covid-19. The vice president tested negative on Monday, her spokesperson said in a statement, nearly a week after she tested positive. She had been prescribed and was taking the antiviral coronavirus treatment Paxlovid—available via emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.
The vice president had been scheduled to speak at the gala before news broke of the court’s draft ruling. But following the leak, between public outrage and the event, an official stance to priority. According to Politico, the speech went through multiple revisions.
The vice president outlined the midterm stakes in her speech, calling attention to the work of EMILY’s List.
“If there was ever any doubt about why Emily’s list is important last night makes the point,” she told the crowd. “Women’s rights in America are under attack.”
She then painted a picture of the choices facing voters.
“Which party wants to expand our rights? And which party wants to restrict them? It has never been more clear,” Harris said. “Which party wants to lead us forward? And which party wants to push us back? You know, some Republican leaders, they want to take us back to a time before Roe v. Wade.”
Harris also warned that the threat doesn’t stop with abortion rights.
“At its core, Roe recognizes the fundamental right to privacy,” she said on Tuesday. “Think about that for a minute. When the right to privacy is attacked, anyone in our country may face a future where the government can interfere in their personal decisions. Not just women. Anyone.”
Harris’ speech echoes the views of the many Democrats who have rebuked the draft opinion as an assault on women’s reproductive freedoms. President Biden told reporters that the opinion was “radical” and warned it could endanger other rights.
Some Democrats are renewing a push to codify Roe into federal law, though Democrats do not currently have the votes in the Senate to pass such a law.