Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams on Sunday called for a legislative solution that would restore nationwide access to abortion following last week’s US Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade as some states, including her own, move to restrict the procedure.
“We know that the right to choose should not be divvied up amongst states. And that the sinister practice of taking constitutional rights and allowing each state to decide the quality of your citizenship is wrong. Women deserve bodily autonomy, they deserve the right to make these choices,” Abrams told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Abram’s Republican opponent in November, signed a bill in 2019 that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – when many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant. The law was later blocked by a federal district judge as unconstitutional. On Friday, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, filed a notice with the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting it reverse the district court’s decision and allow the state’s abortion law to go into effect, a move touted by Kemp.
“In Georgia in particular, in a matter of days, this six-week ban will be the law of the land. That is horrendous. That is appalling. And it is wrong. And, as the next governor, I’m going to do everything in my power to reverse it,” Abrams said Sunday.
Since Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, several states, most of them Republican-led, have taken steps to ban or restrict abortion access. At least 10 states have effectively banned abortion since Friday’s ruling.
Asked if President Joe Biden is doing enough on the issue, Abrams said the President “should do what is within the purview of the executive.” She emphasized the need for a “legislative solution that restores the constitutional protection to women, regardless of the state they live in.”
“I believe there should be federal law that allows women to have these choices, to have reproductive choice and reproductive justice, and I think that it has to stop being a political football where the ideology of the leader of a state can determine the quality of life for a woman and her ability to make the choices she needs,” Abrams told Tapper.
Biden has called for Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade, but Democrats don’t have the votes in the Senate to send such legislation to the President’s desk. The Democratic-led Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill aimed at preserving access to abortion nationwide, failed to advance in the Senate in May. The measure met a similar fate in a separate vote in February.
A CBS News/YouGov poll conduced in the immediate wake of Friday’s ruling found that 58% of Americans say they’d favor a federal law making abortion legal nationwide, while 42% were opposed. And 64% say they’d like abortion in their state to be legal in most or all cases.
Abortion rights has emerged as a key issue in Abrams’ race against Kemp in Georgia, which Biden narrowly carried in 2020, becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1992. Abrams is making her second bid for the governor’s mansion. She rose to national Democratic Party stardom after her 2018 campaign against Kemp, finishing just 1.4 percentage points behind him.
CNN’s Ariel Edwards-Levy contributed to this report.