Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) made waves Tuesday with a new campaign proposal which seeks to limit states’ abilities to pass abortion restrictions, vowing to stop new “deadly” state laws before they take effect.
A woman’s constitutional right to an abortion is under attack. Today I announced a plan as president to block these dangerous and deadly state laws before they take effect. https://t.co/zKJtsgwQUM— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 28, 2019
Dubbed the Reproductive Rights Act, Harris' proposal is meant to mimic the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The act seeks to require states which “have a pattern of violating Roe v. Wade” to receive approval from the DOJ in a process known as pre-clearance. Harris’ campaign website states that if a court finds that a state has violated Roe within the last 25 years, any new abortion restrictions they propose “will remain legally unenforceable” until DOJ permission is granted.
Harris’ campaign website then goes on to compare voting restrictions of the 1900s to the abortion limits we see today:
Just as states and localities enacted facially neutral measures to suppress the right to vote – including literacy tests, poll taxes, photo ID laws, and the closure of polling locations – states have similarly done so to limit reproductive rights – including placing targeted restrictions on abortion providers, requiring waiting periods, and imposing medically unnecessary doctor supervision requirements.
Apparently, stripping citizens of their right to vote is the same as attempting to preserve life. Who knew?
Some critics have cited the 5-4 2013 Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision, which rendered the formula the Voting Rights Act of 1965 used to determine which states needed to seek pre-clearance unconstitutional by current standards.
In response, Harris claims her proposal will not violate the Supreme Court’s mandate:
While the Supreme Court’s partisan majority gutted the Voting Rights Act on grounds the preclearance formula was purportedly “outdated,” it explicitly invited Congress to update the formula along these lines.
As Harris trails Biden, Sanders, and Warren, it seems as if she's pulling out all the stops to get ahead.