Vice President Kamala Harris, in a recent interview on "Face the Nation," addressed the accusations made by Republicans that Democrats support abortions up until birth. While she dismissed these claims as “ridiculous” and a "mischaracterization," Harris did not provide a specific answer when asked where the line should be drawn.
Harris emphasized the need to reinstate the protections of Roe v. Wade, stating that Democrats are aiming to return to the previous state of affairs before the Dobbs decision. Moderator Margaret Brennan pressed Harris on the issue of setting a limit on the procedure, citing precedents set in Roe v. Wade that allowed for restrictions past "anywhere between 20 to 24 weeks." However, Harris firmly reiterated the importance of restoring the protections outlined in Roe v. Wade into law.
Republicans have criticized Democrats for their evasiveness regarding where they would draw the line on abortion, especially considering the declining public support for stricter restrictions. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has accused Democrats of wanting abortions to be legal "until the moment of birth in some instances." In response, the DeSantis campaign compiled a list of prominent Democrats, including Senator John Fetterman, who have refrained from specifying a cutoff point.
According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.3% of abortions in the United States occur after 21 weeks of gestation. Fetal viability is generally believed to occur around the six-month mark of pregnancy. The record for the earliest premature baby to survive is around 21 weeks.
Democrats have faced criticism for passing laws that appear to eliminate abortion limits following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. For example, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed a bill allowing for abortion at any point in a pregnancy if a doctor deems it medically necessary. Many Democrats argue that late-term abortions may be medically necessary and should be exempted from strict limitations.
To secure abortion rights nationwide, Harris emphasized the importance of voters and the political landscape. She cited the need for a 60-vote threshold in the Senate to overcome filibusters, as well as Republican control of the House. Despite questions about underestimating former President Donald Trump, Harris expressed confidence in her and President Biden's ability to win re-election in 2024.
The age factor of both Biden and Trump has also become a point of discussion. Biden is currently the oldest serving president in US history, and if he were to hypothetically serve a second term, he would be 86 years old at its culmination. National polling shows Trump and Biden in a close race, although previous polls overestimated Republican support in the 2022 midterm elections. The most recent RealClearPolitics aggregate shows Biden with a narrow 0.4 percentage point lead over Trump.
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