Vice President Harris said during an appearance late Saturday at the Essence Festival in New Orleans that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was “problematic on so many levels.”
“We have to recognize we’re a nation that was founded on certain principles that are grounded in the concept of freedom and liberty,” Harris said. “We also know that we’ve had a history in this country of government trying to claim ownership over human bodies.”
“We had supposedly evolved from that time and that way of thinking,” she said. “So this is very problematic on so many levels.”
The Supreme Court last month in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization voted to uphold a Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks, also overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which established abortion as a constitutional right.
The decision has fueled intense Democratic anger and a flurry of lawsuits in states opposing so-called trigger laws that automatically implemented abortion restrictions following the court’s ruling.
“The Supreme Court, with the Dobbs decision, for the first time in the history of our nation, took a constitutional right that had been recognized, and took it from the women of America,” Harris said in New Orleans. “Took a constitutional right.”
Harris on Saturday also pointed to Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion, which stated the court should consider overruling other precedents based on the same view of substantive due process rights the majority held in Dobbs. He specifically signaled a willingness to overturn precedents that guarantee rights to same-sex marriage, same-sex intimacy and contraception.
No other justice joined Thomas’s opinion, and the majority stressed in its opinion that the decision in Dobbs should not be taken to signal an overturning of those constitutional protections. But many Democrats are still raising alarm bells over what they view as a court now poised to roll back other major precedents.
“The statement has been made that the government has a right to come in your home and tell you, as a woman and as a family, what you should do with your body,” Harris said.