‘An utter disgrace’: 2020 Democrats denounce Alabama’s near-total abortion ban

“Unconstitutional.” “A utter disgrace.” “It’s time to fight like hell.”

2020 Democratic presidential candidates are hitting back hard against Alabama’s near-total abortion ban, which was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday. Several of the White House hopefuls are pointing to the need for better health care and to defend the Supreme Court’s precedent set forth in Roe v. Wade.

Their comments come after a number of states passed similarly restrictive abortion laws as part of a broader push by anti-abortion activists. The Alabama measure is one of the most restrictive in the U.S., and will ban abortions in almost all cases except where a woman’s health is in danger.

Several other states — Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, and Ohio — have all passed laws this year banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur before many women know they’re pregnant. 

President Donald Trump has yet to comment on the recent bills being passed by state lawmakers. However, he has repeatedly made misleading comment’s on Democrats’ stance on abortion during recent rallies.

“Democrats are aggressively pushing late-term abortion allowing children to be ripped from their mother’s womb, right up until the moment of birth,” he said earlier this month at a rally at Panama City Beach, Fla. “The baby is born and you wrap the baby beautifully and you talk to the mother about the possible execution of the baby.”

However, few babies are born alive — 143 between 2003 to 2014 — after a failed abortion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the CDC reported that just 1.3% of abortions take place after 21 weeks, which often involve either severe fetal anomalies or conditions that endanger the mother.

Here’s where the presidential candidates stand:

Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., denounced the new Alabama law, saying that women deserve better.

“Women are half of this country, and they deserve a hell of a lot better than this,” she tweeted, linking to an article about Ivey signing the bill into law.

Ahead of the Tuesday vote in the state’s legislature, she repeatedly tweeted against the Alabama bill, adding that the legislation and laws in other states like it are a “ruthless, coordinated assault on reproductive rights.”

“Alabama just passed a near-total ban on abortion. No exceptions for rape or incest. Doctors could face 99 years in prison for providing abortions,” she tweeted after the bill passed Tuesday. “This is a war on women, and it is time to fight like hell.”

She will be in Atlanta, Ga., Thursday to headline a group of women protesting that state’s “heartbeat” law, which was passed before Alabama’s new law. It will be the first time she is visiting the state since launching her presidential campaign.

“The onslaught of abortion bans passing in states—as recently as in Alabama’s legislature last night—represents the greatest threat to reproductive freedom in our lifetimes,” Gillibrand wrote in a tweet about her visit to Georgia. “We need to fight back, hard, on the frontlines.”

She added that “too many male politicians” are leading the conversation on what women can do with their own bodies, and that while in Atlanta, she wants to “hear from the people most directly affected by abortion bans like Georgia’s.”

During several TV interviews, Gillibrand blamed the president and Republican lawmakers who want “to overturn precedent.” She added that if president, she would only nominate Supreme Court justices that will uphold Roe v. Wade.

“We used to believe in precedent in this country, but under President Trump, he is trying to upend the entire court system, appointing radical judges like Gorsuch and Kavanaugh,” she said during an interview on MSNBC. “Justices who intend to overturn a decided precedent that the United States and people of this country support.”

Kamala Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., denounced the recent spate of restrictive bills as an attack on women’s health care, and said she “will not stand for it.”

“We must say loud and clear that women’s health care is under attack. We will not stand for it and we won’t go down without a fight. Too much is at stake,” she tweeted after Ivey signed the Alabama bill.

Earlier on Wednesday during a rally in Nashua, N.H., Harris said that the decision a woman makes is up to her and those whom she confides in. She later told reporters that women will die because of these new laws.

“We will not stand for it,” she said. “Supposed leaders have passed a law that would criminalize a physician for assisting a woman on something that she’d consult with her physician, with her God, with her faith leader — has made a decision to do, that it’s her body.”

Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., tweeted after the Alabama bill was passed Tuesday in the legislature that it’s “unconstitutional.”

“This bill in Alabama is effectively a ban on abortion. This is wrong. This is unconstitutional,” she tweeted.

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is ready to fight.

The Massachusetts senator called Alabama’s law “dangerous and exceptionally cruel” and tweeted Wednesday evening that “Women across the country are watching and we will fight back.”

In a video posted on Twitter, the 2020 hopeful also called out Trump for “stacking the courts” with judges who are trying to ban abortion.

“Republican men are on the march to overturn Roe v. Wade, and with Donald Trump stacking the courts in favor of judges who are opposed to abortion, that could be a real possibility,” she said. 

“Women across this country are scared. Women are angry. If you support women, now is the time to make that known,” she concluded in her video.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden denounced the Alabama law, and other’s like it, saying they are unconstitutional. 

“Republicans in AL, FL, GA, and OH are ushering in laws that clearly violate Roe v Wade and they should be declared unconstitutional. Roe v Wade is settled law and should not be overturned. This choice should remain between a woman and her doctor,” Biden tweeted.

Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Alabama’s law “disrespects the fundamental right a woman has to make decisions about her own body.”

“The governor of Alabama just signed a near-total ban on abortion. What an utter disgrace,” the senator tweeted after Ivey signed the bill into law.

In addition, Sanders sent an email to supporters directing them to a link to help fundraise for several abortion rights groups.

The Vermont senator also pushed one of his main policy initiatives: Medicare-for-all. He said that abortion is health care and that passing universal health care will “be guaranteeing a woman’s right to control her own body by covering comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion.”

Pete Buttigieg

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg denounced the law as “ignoring science” and “punishing women.”

“The Alabama legislature is ignoring science, criminalizing abortion, and punishing women. Instead, the government’s role should be to make sure all women have access to comprehensive affordable care, and that includes safe and legal abortion,” he tweeted.

Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., announced shortly after the Alabama bill was approved by state lawmakers that he “will fight in solidarity with women to make sure rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade will not be threatened by those who have no business making laws about their bodies.”

He later tweeted women shouldn’t have to fight for their reproductive rights alone.

“Men, it’s on us to speak out too. It’s on us to take action,” he tweeted. “Not because women are our mothers, wives, daughters. Because women are people. And all people deserve to control their own bodies.”

In addition, he also tweeted a link to help raise money for several reproductive rights groups, including Planned Parenthood.

Alabama's new law which would virtually ban abortions is the latest and most far-reaching state law designed to prod the Supreme Court to reconsider the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. AP's Mark Sherman looks at its chances of reaching the Court. (May 15)
AP, AP

Julián Castro

Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro called Alabama’s new law an “all-out attack” on women’s right to health care.

“Alabama just signed into law the most extreme abortion ban since Roe v. Wade in a blatant attempt to overturn the Supreme Court decision. It’s an all-out attack on women’s fundamental right to health care,” he tweeted following Ivey signing the law. “I stand with women, and with the doctors who provide them care.”

On Tuesday evening, Castro tweeted that it was time to speak out against the “appalling” measure.

“We must defeat this unconstitutional and shameless attempt to strip women of their right to make health care choices,” he tweeted.

Beto O’Rourke

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, late Tuesday evening called Alabama’s legislation “a radical attack on women across Alabama and America.”

“We won’t back down when it comes to fully protecting Roe v. Wade, fighting dangerous efforts to roll back reproductive health care and defending a woman’s right to access an abortion,” he tweeted. 

The Texas Democrat also tweeted a link to help raise money for abortion rights organizations, saying that “we will fight these dangerous efforts with everything we’ve got in legislatures across the country, in the courts, and at the ballot box.”

Contributing: Associated Press

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