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Vice President Kamala Harris compares Supreme Court abortion ruling to slavery: ‘Claiming ownership over human bodies’

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the American Rescue Plan Workforce Development Summit in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, July 13, 2022.
Jemal Countess | UPI | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday compared the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning a constitutional right to abortion to America’s history of slavery, saying “our country has a history of claiming ownership over human bodies.”

Harris’ scathing analogy came in a speech at the NAACP’s 113th convention, where also she blasted many of the “so-called leaders” of the anti-abortion movement for being “the same ones who are passing laws to restrict the ability to vote” on state laws that could make it easier to terminate pregnancies.

The Supreme Court on June 24 overturned its 49-year-old ruling in the case known as Roe v. Wade, which had legalized abortion in the entire United States.

The new decision is expected to lead to abortion being banned outright or more severely restricted in nearly half of U.S. states.

In her speech in Atlantic City, New Jersey, before the civil rights organization, Harris cited the name of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black person to serve on the Supreme Court. Harris is the first woman to be elected vice president, and is also the first Black person to hold that office.

“Think about it: For the first time in generations, the United States Supreme Court — the highest court of our land; the former court of Thurgood Marshall — took away a constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America, from the women of America,” Harris said.

“We know, NAACP, that our country has a history of claiming ownership over human bodies,” Harris said to applause.

“And today, extremists, so-called leaders are criminalizing doctors and punishing women for making health-care decisions for themselves — personal decisions that it is her right to make in consultation with her doctor, her pastor, her priest, her rabbi, her loved ones, not her government telling her what to do,” she added.

“And these so-called leaders — so-called — claim that, ‘Well, you know, we just think that this is a decision that should be made by the folks in the states. People in the states can vote on this,'” the vice president said. “Right? But at this moment, many of those same so-called leaders are the same ones who are passing laws to restrict the ability of people to vote.”

At a briefing later Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she had not see Harris’s comment.

But Jean-Pierre also said, “She is correct. Today’s decisions are criminalizing doctors and essentially taking the rights away from women, taking the freedom away from women. Really taking away people’s privacy. “

“That does matter. And that is important,” the spokeswoman said.

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