Culture

Forty-nine years ago this Saturday, the Supreme Court handed down their decision in the landmark Roe v. Wade case, legalizing abortion in the U.S. To mark the anniversary, Vice President Kamala Harris recorded a video message reiterating the administration’s commitment to protecting abortion rights, highlighting the work they’ve done to protect reproductive rights so far (like rescinding the global gag rule and reinstating the Title X family planning program), and calling for the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe in the constitution.

The message, which ELLE got an exclusive sneak peek at, comes a month after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a case that will decide the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The conservative-leaning Court is expected to uphold the law, dealing the most significant blow to Wade in its nearly five decades as legal precedent and opening the door to states banning abortion six week into a pregnancy, or even at conception.

Roe v. Wade advanced women’s equality and that case saved women’s lives,” Harris says in the video. “The constitutional right for women to make decisions about their own bodies is not an abstract concept… [Our administration] will fight to protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Harris is no stranger to advocating for the rights of women. She’s a supporter of repealing the Hyde Amendment, which is a legislative clause prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for an abortion. Most recently, in response to Senate Bill 8 in Texas, the VP issued a statement that strongly denounced that law and reaffirmed the ongoing fight for reproductive rights.

Roe v. Wade gave women the ability to control their own bodies, to plan their own families, and to determine their own futures. Roe v. Wade advanced women’s equality and that case saved women’s lives,” Harris continues. “On this 49th anniversary, let us recommit to doing everything we can to protect those constitutional rights.”

Watch the full video above.

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