- Vice President Kamala Harris said that “women will die” if Roe v. Wade is pared down or overturned.
- “I don’t mean to sound alarmist, I mean this: Women will die,” she told San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks is a clear challenge to Roe.
Vice President Kamala Harris said in an interview published on Sunday that “women will die” if the Supreme Court curtails or overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the US and afforded a constitutional right to the procedure.
While speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, Harris said that threatening the established precedent would create dire situations for women seeking lifesaving procedures, as well as cause irreparable harm to women who might potentially turn to unsanctioned methods.
“I don’t mean to sound alarmist, I mean this: Women will die,” she said.
As the first female to assume the vice presidency in US history — as well as a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who attracted national attention for her sharp questioning of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings — Harris has been a staunch defender of women’s reproductive rights.
“I’m very concerned about it,” Harris said of the potential for Roe to be pared down or reversed. “Women will die. In particular, women who don’t have economic resources and can’t then travel to places or somehow have access to safe reproductive health care, including abortion. And it is not an extreme statement, it is a fact.”
Despite Harris’ support of abortion rights, along with that of President Joe Biden, the administration doesn’t have a firm strategy on its next steps if the court goes against the landmark precedent.
“We have to see what the court does,” she said in the interview.
The case that is being used to challenge Roe is the most urgent threat to abortion rights in nearly 30 years — with Mississippi asking the court to overturn Roe.
In 2018, the Republican-controlled Mississippi legislature passed a law that banned abortion procedures 15 weeks after pregnancy — a strict measure that ignores the standard set in Roe, which maintains that states can’t block a woman from having an abortion before roughly 24 weeks of pregnancy. At this stage, medical experts have stated that a fetus can survive outside of the womb, also known as viability.
During oral arguments earlier this month, the court signaled that it could potentially uphold the Mississippi law, but the fate of Roe remains up in the air.