Vice President Kamala Harris criticized new abortion restrictions in Texas Thursday as an “abortion bounty law empowering vigilantes” and said Congress needs to “codify” the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
Meeting at the White House with abortion rights advocates, Ms. Harris praised the Justice Department for filing a lawsuit to block the Texas law, which bars abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and offers $10,000 for private parties to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion.
The Justice Department “has spoken loudly in saying this law is patently unconstitutional,” Ms. Harris said.
Justice filed a civil lawsuit Thursday over the law, with Attorney General Merrick B. Garland calling it “clearly unconstitutional.”
“The right of women to make decisions about their own bodies is not negotiable,” the vice president said. She said the administration is taking up a fight that isn’t confined to Texas.
“Right now there are 22 states that have laws that could be used to restrict the legal status of abortion,” she said. “Ninety provisions that restrict access to reproductive health care were passed in 2021. Some states like Kentucky and Mississippi have only one abortion clinic.”
She also criticized the Supreme Court for refusing to take up an emergency request to review the law.
“The Supreme Court has allowed a state law to stand that deputizes citizens, anyone, to proclaim themselves in a position to have a right under law to interfere with those choices that that woman has made,” Ms. Harris said.
She called the Texas regulation “essentially an abortion bounty law, empowering vigilantes with a private right of action to interfere with a woman’s relationship with her health care provider.”
“We need to codify Roe v. Wade,” she said, referring to the landmark Supreme Court ruling.