ATLANTA — Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand says that, as president, she’d seek to write into law the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that legalized abortion.
During a rally at Georgia’s state Capitol on Thursday, the New York senator criticized recent abortion bans signed into law in Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Alabama as “a nationwide assault on women’s constitutional rights by ideological extremists.”
Anti-abortion activists and lawmakers in several states have been emboldened by the new conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court that includes President Donald Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. They are pushing abortion bans in an attack on the high court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide until a fetus is developed enough to live outside a woman’s uterus.
“Federal law should supersede harmful state laws that take away women’s reproductive freedom,” Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand also pledged to end the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision that prohibits the use of federal funds for any health benefits coverage that includes abortion. And she reiterated an earlier pledge to only nominate Supreme Court justices who will support Roe v. Wade.
Her comments came one day after Republican Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed into law the nation’s strictest abortion ban, which makes performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to life in prison. The only exception is if the woman’s life is in danger.
Georgia’s law would effectively ban abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy — before many women know they are pregnant. It’s set to take effect Jan. 1, but opponents have vowed to sue to block it.
Gillibrand is among two dozen Democrats who have declared they’re running for president in 2020.
She’s been one of the Senate’s most vocal members on issues of sexual harassment, military sexual assault, equal pay for women and family leave.