Kamala Harris rejects claim Democrats want abortion rights until birth

Vice President Kamala Harris rejected accusations from some Republican officials that Democrats want to allow abortion procedures up until a person gives birth, calling the claim “ridiculous.”

Harris on CBS’ “Face the Nation” called on lawmakers to codify the rights provided in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that brought abortion protections from coast to coast. Before the case was overturned, virtually every state in the country allowed people to have abortions at least until a point of viability, typically about 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

Asked by CBS’ Margaret Brennan what “week of pregnancy” Harris believes a potential abortion law should protect, the vice president repeatedly said “We need to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade” and that the Biden administration is “not trying to do anything that did not exist before June of last year.”

Brennan explained that she asked the vice president about a specific week because “Republicans say the lack of a precise date in cutting it off – you know this – they say that allows Democrats to perform abortions up until, you know, birth.”

“Which is ridiculous,” Harris said, calling the argument a “mischaracterization of the point.”

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Some Republican lawmakers and candidates across the country have alleged that Democrats widely want people who are pregnant to be able to obtain an abortion at any time, even if they are weeks from potentially giving birth.

Abortions in the third trimester of pregnancy are already rare, and they typically occur because of serious fetal abnormalities. In 2019, about 93% of abortions occurred at or before 13 weeks of gestation. About 1% of abortions occurred at 21 weeks or later, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abortions that do occur later in a pregnancy usually involve medication to induce birth early, which experts point out is different than a surgical abortion.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Harris rejects GOP claim Democrats want abortion rights until birth

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