Kamala Harris Says the 'Rights of All Americans Are at Risk' After Draft Opinion on 'Roe v. Wade' Leaks

"This is the time to fight for women and our country with everything we have," the vice president wrote in a tweet on Tuesday

Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty

Kamala Harris is speaking out on abortion and reproductive rights one day after Politico released a draft opinion leaked from the Supreme Court that reveals their preliminary decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of Roe v. Wade against women," the vice president, 57, wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

"The rights of all Americans are at risk. This is the time to fight for women and our country with everything we have."

Harris' comments come soon after President Joe Biden's written statement on the matter, in which he vowed to sign legislation that would make the right to an abortion a federal law.

Biden called on Congress Tuesday morning to codify the right to an abortion and "protect a women's right to choose" in light of the leaked draft opinion, in which Justice Samuel Alito writes that Roe "must be overruled."

The draft, which the Supreme Court confirmed is authentic, is not expected to be finalized for weeks and could change during that time.

"If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation's elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman's right to choose," Biden said. "And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law."

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Biden also said he believes "that a woman's right to choose is fundamental," adding, "Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned."

Abortions remain a constitutional right in the United States as of today. But even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe in the coming months, Congress has the ability right now to create and pass legislation that would make the right to an abortion a federal law.

Any bill faces an uphill battle, though. The Senate needs 60 votes to pass legislation — more than just a simple majority of 50 because they would also need to override a likely filibuster — and Democrats hold a slim majority of 50 with Vice President Harris as the tie-breaking vote.

Last year, the House passed the Women's Health Protection Act, intended to codify abortion rights, but when the Senate moved to vote on it in March, Republicans — along with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia — blocked it from going to the floor for debate.

The other option is for the Senate to eliminate the filibuster, which they could do with just 50 votes, but Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, have repeatedly opposed doing so.

Still, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said Tuesday that he intends to have the chamber vote on a bill that would codify abortion rights.

"A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "This is as urgent and real as it gets. We will vote to protect a woman's right to choose and every American is going to see [on] which side every senator stands."

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On Monday, Politico published a leaked "majority draft opinion" of a Supreme Court decision, showing that the legal body is set to vote to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade case ruling that established the federal right to abortion in 1973.

The 98-page opinion, authored by Justice Alito and leaked to the press, states that "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," and that "we [the Supreme Court majority] hold that Roe and Casey [another ruling on the right to abortion from 1992 which upheld the previous court decision] must be overruled."

A decision to overturn Roe seemed likely when the conservative-leaning Supreme Court decided in December to take up a lawsuit over Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Because allowing the ban to move forward would be in violation of Roe, it raised expectations that the conservative majority on the Court would vote to overturn the case.

According to Politico, Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined Alito's opinion.

Politico also stipulated that the draft opinion does not represent an official decision from the court, which will only be codified once a final opinion is published, most likely within the next two months. Votes from Supreme Court justices can change before opinions are formally released, often days before a decision is officially made.

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