Kamala Harris unveils plan to let federal government veto state pro-life laws
May 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — As the Democrats running for president compete to demonstrate who will be the most extreme defender of abortion on demand, Sen. Kamala Harris of California has unveiled a plan to essentially force pro-life states to seek permission from the federal government before pro-life laws can take effect.
Harris released her proposal for a “Reproductive Rights Act” Tuesday on her website. “Similar to the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act, Harris will require, for the first time, that states and localities with a history of violating Roe v. Wade obtain approval from her Department of Justice before any abortion law or practice can take effect,” the announcement declared.
Specifically, states with a “pattern of violating Roe v. Wade in the preceding 25 years,” as determined by courts striking down previous pro-life laws, would not be able to enforce new duly enacted pro-life measures “until DOJ determines it comports with the standards laid out by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, as applied in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and the Women’s Health Protection Act, which Harris co-sponsors in the Senate.”
The Women’s Health Protection Act would presumably render such determinations redundant, as it would explicitly forbid states from enacting a broad range of even modest abortion restrictions in the first place and all but ensure that no pro-life law would meet with the approval of Harris’ Justice Department.
Further, the burden would be on pro-life states and localities to prove that “any new law or practice does not deny or abridge the fundamental right to access abortion.” It would also limit pro-life states under a future pro-life president, as it gives the Justice Department “an affirmative duty to review submissions and make formal determinations.” Finally, should a pro-life law clear all the preceding hurdles, “women and health care providers will have the ability to challenge DOJ’s approval of a law or practice in federal court.”
Writing at the Daily Wire, First Liberty Institute of Counsel Josh Hammer called the plan “ridiculous and unconstitutional” for, among other reasons, upending the United States’ “true federalist system of dual spheres of sovereignty,” which very intentionally made federal powers “few and defined,” in Founding Father James Madison’s words, and state powers “numerous and indefinite.”
Hammer went on to discuss the disputed constitutional basis of the Voting Rights Act after which Harris modeled her plan, concluding that “if Justice Thomas is right that protections for the franchise against racial discrimination, as the 15th Amendment constitutionalized, are no longer worthy of such a structural constitutional inversion, then ‘protections’ for the wholly fabricated faux-constitutional ‘right’ of abortion are definitely not worthy of such a constitutional inversion.”
Even many law scholars who favor legal abortion, such as Harvard’s Laurence Tribe and former Harry Blackmun clerk Edward Lazarus, have admitted that, in the latter’s words, “Roe borders on the indefensible” because a “constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent.”
Every current Democrat presidential candidate is running as uncompromisingly pro-abortion, and most have endorsed federal legislation effectively ending states’ ability to set any pro-life policies. Each of them currently in the U.S. Senate (including Harris) also voted against giving basic medical treatment to infants who survive failed abortions.
Harris herself has declared that “we cannot tolerate a society and live in a country with any level of pride when our babies are being slaughtered” in the context of the gun-control debate, yet has refused to say if there is ever a “point at which [abortion] would be considered immoral.”