Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) accused her fellow Democratic presidential candidates and debate moderators of failing to adequately prioritize the discussion of abortion rights during Tuesday evening’s debate.
“This is the sixth debate we have had in this presidential cycle and not nearly one word, with all of these discussions about health care, on women’s access to reproductive healthcare, which is under full-on attack,” Harris said from the CNN debate state in Ohio.
“People need to keep their hands off of women’s bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives,” she added.
Over the last year, several states have passed what the Harris campaign has called “dangerous and deadly laws” abortion bans, including so-called “heartbeat bills,” which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, around four weeks of pregnancy.
Such bills are designed to spark court challenges that could potentially trigger a relitigation of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide. Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama and Ohio have all passed strict abortion bans.
Harris has also pledged to require states and localities with a history of restrictive abortion regimes to obtain approval from the Justice Department before enacting laws further restricting the procedure. Under her plan, the DOJ would determine if a restriction was consistent with Roe v. Wade before it could take effect.
The former California attorney general has also promised to fight to protect Planned Parenthood from Republican attempts to defund the mammoth abortion provider, nominate judges who respect Roe, and work to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the direct federal funding of abortions.