Harris says Democrats believed ‘certain issues were just settled’ when asked about failure to codify Roe v. Wade

Vice President Harris said Democrats believed Roe v. Wade to be a settled issue when asked about party lawmakers’ failure to codify abortion protections into federal law over the past 50 years.

“We certainly believed that certain issues are just settled,” Harris told CBS News’s Robert Costa, in an interview that was shown on “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” on Friday and will be shown on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. 

Harris said the fact that the precedent set by Roe was not settled shows that “we are living, sadly, in real unsettled times.” 

“I think all of us share a deep sense of outrage that the United States Supreme Court took a constitutional right that was recognized, took it from the women of America,” she said. “We are now looking at a case where the government can interfere in what is one of the most intimate and private decisions that someone can make.” 

Harris said Congress needs to act to pass a law protecting abortion rights on a federal level. She also pointed to the executive order that President Biden signed on Friday to take steps to protect access to abortion. The order, however, is limited in scope, and Biden reiterated on Friday that ultimate control over the issue currently rests with Congress.

Harris also said she did not believe Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom voted to overturn Roe v. Wade last month, when they said during their confirmation hearings that they considered Roe to be established precedent. 

Some senators, including Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), said they believed Gorsuch and Kavanaugh would vote to uphold Roe based on their comments during the confirmation process and were alarmed to see them vote to overturn it.