Harris: Authoritarians can point to Dobbs decision to justify taking away rights

By | September 13, 2022

On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris claimed that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has global implications that make some countries question American dedication to democracy and others use it to justify their own actions.

Speaking at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute event, Harris claimed that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and no longer recognize abortion as a constitutional right undermines America’s position as a global leader when it comes to human rights.

“And the thing about who we are as a country, as Americans, is we have been able to walk in these rooms with confidence, talking about the importance of democracies, talking about the importance of rule of law, human rights, We have held ourselves out to be a role of all of those things, which gives us then some legitimacy, dare I say authority, to then talk about human rights around the world, talk about the importance of rule of law in the world,” Harris said. 

“When you are a role model, people watch what you do to see if it matches up to what you say. So nations around the world are watching this and saying, what’s going on there? Do they really stand for democracy? Do they really have a legitimate ability to tell other countries what to do?”

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Harris then claimed that not only does eliminating a federal right to abortion make the U.S. look bad to other democracies, but it also provides an excuse for bad actors.

“Authoritarian countries can now say, ‘That great democracy is taking these rights. Why can’t we also?'”

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Earlier in the talk, Harris spoke to those who may oppose abortion on religious grounds, saying that one can still hold religious beliefs and “agree the government should not be making this decision for me.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling did not in itself take away rights in the U.S. as Harris claimed. It did, however, put that power in the hands of states’ elected officials, who, in some cases, have imposed restrictions or bans on the practice.