“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 on June 11 in an interview with the Des Moines Register.
Kirsten Gillibrand compared pro-life beliefs to racism and suggested the pro-life viewpoint is “not acceptable” during an interview with the Des Moines Register https://t.co/B2Cvvgnt6e pic.twitter.com/Knr4h5OvVh
— Jeff Cimmino (@jeffcimmino) June 11, 2019
The 2020 presidential candidate also suggested anyone who holds pro-life beliefs could be compared to those who are racist.
“Imagine saying that it’s okay to appoint a judge who’s racist or anti-Semitic,” Gillibrand said. “Asking someone to appoint someone who takes away basic human rights of any group of people in America—I don’t think that those are political issues anymore.”
The senator’s remarks came in response to a question about whether having a litmus test for judicial nominees would threaten the independence of the legal system.
Gillibrand went further to say she would only appoint justices who agree to uphold the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling that access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right.
She also used the United States Constitution to defend her views by interpreting the sentence “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” as the separation of church and state.
“We believe in this country in the separation of church and state, and I respect the rights of every American to hold their religious beliefs true to themselves but our country and our Constitution has always demanded that we have a separation of church and state,” she said.
Gillibrand criticized the pro-life efforts of “ultra-radical” presiding judges as trying to “impose their faith” on the nation.
“[It] is contrary to our Constitution and that’s what this is and so I believe that for all of these issues, they are not issues that there is a fair other side,” the senator said. “There is no moral equivalency when you come to racism, and I do not believe there is a moral equivalency when it comes to changing laws that deny women reproductive freedom.”
This was not the senator’s first controversial speech as she had in May accused pro-life supporters within her Democratic Party of “imposing [their] faith on other people,” which goes “against [the] Christian faith.”
President Trump previously celebrated the Republican Party’s victories in protecting the right to life of unplanned babies, more recently in Alabama where Gov. Kay Ivey (R) approved a bill that outlaws all abortions except in cases when the pregnancy puts the prospective mother’s life at risk.
While it doesn’t penalize a woman for undergoing an abortion, it makes it a felony to perform it, imposing penalties of 10 to 99 yearsaids in prison. The law provides no exception for rape and incest.
“If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my presidency may be lost, including our pro-life victories,” Donald Trump wrote on Twitter. “Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating … judges and Supreme Court justices.”
…If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories. Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating….Judges and Supreme Court Justices!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2019
However, Gillibrand hopes she can prevent more states from passing anti-abortion laws by being elected as president, and continues to call Trump’s Supreme Court appointments “anti-choice extremists.”
Nevertheless, Gillibrand is struggling to win the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, and understood to only be meeting the donor threshold to qualify for the first debate. All other female Democratic candidates have already qualified.