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Kamala Harris urges voters to elect a ‘pro-choice Congress’ in midterms | Kamala Harris

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Vice-President Kamala Harris renewed pleas to voters ahead of the midterm congressional races to elect pro-choice candidates, as the Biden administration continues to face criticism from progressives over a perceived lackluster response to the recent landmark supreme court decision striking down federal abortion rights in the US.

In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Harris urged voters to elect a “pro-choice Congress” in November and highlighted that down-ballot contests at the local level would also be central to restoring abortion rights in certain parts of the country.

“You don’t have to advocate or believe that this is right for you or your family, but don’t let the government make the decision for her family, whoever she may be,” Harris said in a pre-recorded interview. “It means state offices, governors, secretaries of state, attorneys general. It means local races, who’s going to be your DA, who’s going to be your sheriff, enforcing laws that are being passed to criminalize medical health providers, and maybe even the women who seek the service.”

On Friday, Joe Biden signed a limited executive order designed to protect access to reproductive health services by expanding access to emergency contraception and bolstering legal services to support people who cross state lines to seek an abortion.

But for many abortion advocates and progressive Democrats, the president’s measures do not go far enough. The administration has, for example, resisted calls to use federal land in anti-abortion states to facilitate terminating pregnancies, or subsidizing travel to people forced to travel in order to access services.

At least nine US states have banned abortion in the wake of 6-3 supreme court ruling that overturned the Roe v Wade decision that had enshrined the procedure as a constitutional right since 1973. The ruling makes it likely that around half the country – 26 states – will eventually outlaw abortion in some way.

The decision followed Donald Trump’s installation of three rightwing justices to the supreme court, paving the way for a conservative super majority on the court.

Harris, then a US senator, voted against the former president’s appointments of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. And she said on Sunday she had never believed assurances made in private and public by Gorsuch and Kavanaugh that they respected the precedence of the Roe decision.

“I start from the point of experience of having served in the Senate,” Harris said. “I never believed them. I didn’t believe them. So I voted against.”

Asked if the Democrats should have done more to enshrine the right to abortion into federal law when the party controlled both chambers of Congress, Harris responded: “We certainly believe that certain issues are just settled. Certain issues are just settled. And that’s why I do believe that we are living, sadly, in real unsettled times.”

Democrats have faced criticism for fundraising drives off the back of the supreme court decision and recent polling indicates their party still faces a tough day at the ballot box in November, with Biden’s approval ratings plummeting and the party looking set to lose its majority in the House of Representatives.

On Sunday, Harris sought to quell calls for Biden to serve just one term as president before allowing a new Democratic nominee to contest the 2024 election.

“Listen to President Biden,” Harris said. “He intends to run. And if he does, I intend to run with him.”


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