When asked what week in a pregnancy access to abortion should be cut off by Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation,” Vice President Kamala Harris would not give a specific answer.
On Sunday, an interview with Harris was aired on “Face the Nation” where she discussed a variety of topics, including the upcoming 2024 presidential election and foreign policy. During the interview, Harris expressed support for upholding Roe v. Wade and said Congress “has the power and ability to pass legislation to put those protections back in law.”
When Brennan asked Harris, “what week of pregnancy should abortion access be cut off?” Harris said, “We need to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade.”
Brennan pressed further, asking, “Do you need to be more precise?” Harris responded, “I am being precise. We need to put into law the protections of Roe v. Wade. And that is about going back to where we were before the Dobbs decision.”
After Brennan asked Harris again for a specific point at which she believed abortion access should end, Harris said, “The women of America should be trusted to make decisions about their life and their body based on what they know to be in their best interest. It’s that simple.”
Brennan told Harris she was asking because Republicans believe not having a precise date in the law allows for abortion up until birth. Harris said this claim was “ridiculous” and “a mischaracterization of the point.”
Others, like Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill, have made similar claims. “Like Nessie and Bigfoot, the term ‘late-term abortion’ is completely made up. It’s anti-abortion propaganda with no basis in medicine, intended to confuse people,” she said, per The Hill.
Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “This claim that Democrats support abortion up until the moment of birth is entirely misleading,” according to The Hill.
Some have criticized Psaki’s and others’ claims due to legislation supported by congressional Democrats. “Elected Democrats have consistently voted in favor of legislation that permits late-term abortions in certain circumstances,” Alex Demas wrote for The Free Press.
While most U.S. states have some restrictions on abortion, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont have no gestational limit on abortion, according to The New York Times.
In 2022, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania were the lone Democrats to block a bill that stipulated, “a health care provider has a statutory right under this act to provide abortion services, and may provide abortion services, and that provider’s patient has a corresponding right to receive such services, without” specific “limitations or requirements,” according to Fox News.
The other 46 Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill.
After voting against the bill, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said, per Fox News, “Tonight, the hard-left formally kicked the old slogan of ‘safe, legal and rare’ to the curb and embraced extreme pro-abortion politics. This legislation will make Planned Parenthood’s army of lobbyists happy, but it’s going to alienate a lot of Americans.”
Before the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, “abortions were prohibited in 33 states and only allowed in special circumstances in 13 others,” per PBS. After the court ruling, abortion was then federally at the discretion of the mother during the first trimester, regulated but not outlawed by states during the second trimester, and regulated and potentially outlawed during the third trimester of pregnancy.
In 2020, 615,911 abortions were reported, per a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Of those, 93.1% were reported to be at 13 weeks or less gestation, 5.8% between 14-20 weeks gestation, and 0.9% at 21 or more weeks. This means abortions at or past 21 weeks accounted for around 6,000 abortions in the U.S. in 2020.
While a plurality of Americans support abortion access up until 14 weeks, most Americans do not believe abortion should be legal in all cases or illegal in all cases, according to the 2022 American Family Survey.