Pro-life groups wasted no time Wednesday in condemning the Biden-Harris tandem, denouncing it as “the most pro-abortion ticket in history,” as advocates on both sides of the issue girded for a hard-fought 2020 battle.
The Women Speak Out PAC, the campaign arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, marked the Tuesday selection of California Sen. Kamala D. Harris as the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee by releasing an ad in seven battleground states blasting the candidates as “pro-abortion fanatics.”
“Kamala Harris joins Joe Biden on the most pro-abortion ticket in history,” said the political action committee in a statement. “Their agenda: a pro-abortion Supreme Court, abortion-on-demand up to birth, paid for by American taxpayers, and no protections for infants born alive after failed abortions.”
The ad drew a stark distinction between the GOP and Democratic presidential tickets on an issue that voters increasingly view as a litmus test.
A Gallup poll released in July found that 30% of pro-life voters and 19% of pro-choice voters view abortion as a “threshold issue,” meaning they would only support candidates who share their position. The pro-life percentage is the highest since Gallup began tracking the question in 2001.
The Women Speak Out PAC plans to spend $52 million in the 2020 election cycle, while Axios reported that Planned Parenthood Votes released a pro-Biden digital ad campaign last month in nine states, part of its $45 million campaign effort.
“Everything is on the line in November, which is why Planned Parenthood Action Fund members are committed to electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the two highest offices in the land,” said Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Alexis McGill Johnson in a Tuesday statement.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden has moved steadily leftward on abortion over his 50-year political career, announcing last year that he now opposes the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions, after decades of support.
Ms. Harris, who has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, appears to support no restrictions on abortion, calling it “a fundamental issue of justice.” She voted last year with Senate Democrats to block a GOP bill requiring doctors to treat infants born alive after botched abortions.
As California attorney general, she launched the investigation into the Center for Medical Progress’s David Daleiden over his undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood, serving a search warrant on his Huntington Beach apartment. He filed a civil rights lawsuit against her in May.
During her bid for the presidential nod last year, Ms. Harris proposed requiring states to seek federal approval before enacting laws limiting abortion access to ensure their compliance with the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
“Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as a running mate has left no room for doubt; he is the abortion candidate, leaving behind any semblance of being a moderate,” said March for Life President Jeanne Mancini. “And sadly, this Democratic ticket is perhaps the most pro-abortion in history.”
Meanwhile, pro-choice groups hailed Ms. Harris’s selection, with NARAL calling her a “reproductive freedom champion” and Planned Parenthood predicting she would “electrify the ticket.”
“Throughout her career, she has been a steadfast champion for reproductive rights and health care,” said Ms. Johnson. “With this selection, Joe Biden has made it clear that he is deeply committed to not only protecting reproductive rights, but also advancing and expanding them.”
A Catholic, Mr. Biden said in 2012 that he accepts the church’s position that life begins at conception in his “personal life,” but that “I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can’t control their body,” according to On the Issues.
CatholicVote President Brian Burch criticized his selection of Ms. Harris, saying that “a Biden-Harris ticket threatens the values Catholics in this country hold most dear.”
“By selecting a running mate who is staunchly pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty, Joe Biden has once again made it clear that his self-styled ‘Catholic identity’ is something which can be cast aside whenever it’s politically expedient,” Mr. Burch said.
White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said Ms. Harris is “part of the radical left” on abortion and other issues.
“She is for abortion in the ninth month, and if she’s not, I want her to say that today,” Mrs. Conway told reporters at the White House. “The Democratic Party platform, basically, is abortion anyone, anytime, anywhere — no restrictions, no regulations.”
Mrs. Conway said the White House has hosted people who survived after less than six months in the womb.
“We know people who survive outside of the womb at 22, 23, 24 weeks and on to have great lives, God bless them,” she said. “So if she [Ms. Harris] is not for late-term abortion, she’s not for sex-selection abortion — she’s not if she’s changed her mind on voting against abortions after the 20th week, because she voted against that as a United States senator. She’s radical on everything.”
• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.
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