Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that limiting women’s access to reproductive health care is akin to being racist.
During an interview with The Des Moines Register on Tuesday, the presidential hopeful said it’s simply wrong to “deny women basic human rights” such as access to safe and affordable reproductive health care. Gillibrand likened appointing judges who oppose abortion to supporting judges who hold racist beliefs.
“I think there’s some issues that have such moral clarity that we have, as a society, decided that the other side is not acceptable,” Gillibrand said.
“Imagine saying that it’s OK to appoint a judge who’s racist or anti-Semitic or homophobic,” she continued. “Asking someone to appoint someone who takes away basic human rights of any group of people in America ... I don’t think those are political issues anymore.”
Gillibrand pointed to the fact that church and state are separated by law in the U.S. And yet, she added, the conservative right is turning religious anti-abortion rhetoric into law.
“All these efforts by President Trump and other ultra-radical conservative judges and justices to impose their faith on Americans is contrary to our Constitution, and that’s what this is,” she said, adding: “There is no moral equivalency when you come to racism. And I do not believe that there is a moral equivalency when it comes to changing laws that deny women reproductive freedom.”
In recent months, several states including Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and Louisiana have passed extreme abortion bans and restrictions. These laws are meant as an assault on the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which still protects the right to abortion nationwide.
Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have continued to push dangerous and inaccurate anti-abortion rhetoric. Most recently, Trump said women who want abortions discuss with their doctors whether to “execute” the babies after they’re born.
Planned Parenthood declared a state of emergency last month amid the wave of state anti-abortion legislation. Just last week, the United Nations’ deputy high commissioner for human rights said the U.S. is in “crisis” and likened the recent abortion laws to “torture.”