In the wake of last week’s leak of the Supreme Court’s early draft decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, Vice President Kamala Harris voiced her angst at the potential overturning of the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade this summer. In a spree of speeches delivered over the course of the following days, Mrs. Harris took a central place on the nation’s political stage by her forceful support of federal protection for abortion rights in the country. The comments garnered widespread attention on both sides of the aisle, with the Tuesday exclamation of: “How dare they!” became a historic rallying cry for pro-choice activists around the country.
It is an undeniable fact that the former attorney general of California Kamala Harris has been consistently pro-choice for her entire career, serving as the state’s representative in several abortion-related cases. The unauthorised disclosure of the Supreme Court’s draft decision on the key abortion case in the nation’s history last Monday simply provided a perfect opportunity for the current Vice President to express her stance at this pivotal moment in the decades-long dispute. Speaking at an event for the pro-abortion advocacy group EMILY’s List one day later, Mrs. Harris made her iconic remarks with her characteristic enthusiasm: “How dare they tell a woman what she can do with her own body”. She accused her political opponents of “weaponizing” the Court’s power against women’s reproductive rights.
Over the course of the following days and weeks, the Democratic Vice President has become a leading pro-abortion voice in the country. Fittingly, it was also under her supervision that the left-leaning party attempted to pass a new bill codifying the right to abortion into law, which ultimately failed to achieve an absolute majority. She labelled the opposition’s efforts “A direct assault on the freedom of women” in a brief press conference on Thursday. Today she released a tweet saying ” Women’s rights are under attack. Over the last few months, we’ve seen extremist Republican leaders try to weaponize the use of the law against women. These attacks affect all Americans and put women in harm’s way.”
Unfortunately, recent polls show that the abortion debate is not a leading voter concern at least as far as the 2022 mid-term elections go. Indeed, Mrs. Harris’ approval rating or public image has improved and but there is evidence that the conservative backlash is stronger than expected. For one, the former Vice President Mike Pence’s response to Harris’ comments has gained an equal amount of media coverage, when he countered in a live interview: “62 million unborn boys and girls ended in abortion”, concluding with: “Madame Vice President, how dare you?” In the end, the Supreme Court’s decision is unlikely to be swayed by political pressure from either side.