Kamala Harris says she would require states seeking to restrict abortion laws to first obtain federal approval.
The presidential candidate and California senator says that if she won the White House, she would back legislation requiring states with a history of restricting abortion rights to receive clearance from the Justice Department to change abortion laws.
The move follows laws that recently passed in Georgia, Alabama and other states to drastically restrict abortions.
The pre-clearance requirement would face steep hurdles. The Supreme Court struck down a similar provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, effectively freeing states to change election laws without seeking federal approval.
The Harris campaign argues that decision doesn’t ban pre-clearance measures, leaving it up to Congress to decide how to impose such requirements.
“Are we going to go back to the days of back-alley abortions? Women died before we had Roe v. Wade in place,” Harris told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell at a town hall hosted by the network in Spartanburg, S.C.
“So I’m going to tell you, on this issue, I’m kind of done,” she continued to applause.
The senator’s comments come after the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up the challenge to a provision blocking abortions on the basis of sex, race or disability in Indiana.
The move avoided a major ruling on the procedure, allowing the high court to sidestep the issue for now.
Tuesday’s ruling came as the Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s decision to invalidate part of the state’s abortion law on the disposal of fetal remains.
The court gave conservatives a partial win by upholding a provision that required remains from an abortion or miscarriage to be buried or cremated.
“When elected, I’m going to put in place and require that states that have history of passing legislation that is designed to limit or prevent a woman’s access to reproductive health care, that those laws have to come before my Department of Justice for a review and approval,” she said.