Buttigieg tepid on legislation to codify Roe v. Wade

When asked whether he supported codifying the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights Supreme Court decision, presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg campaign field organizers unionize Harris: Buttigieg comparing 'struggles' between black, LGBTQ communities is 'a bit naive' Poll: Trump edges Biden, trails Sanders in neck and neck match-ups MORE said while visiting Chicago that such an idea should be "taken seriously" but did not directly say whether he supported it. 

"I think that's something that deserves to be taken seriously. I haven't seen the full range of ideas on how to do that," the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said of codifying the decision. 

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"Some people think it has to be in the Constitution itself as a right to privacy, for example. Obviously, that could be achieved legislatively, but with those rights under assault, I think the full range of responses needs to be contemplated because we can't just keep having this play out one Supreme Court point at a time," he added. 

However, he also spoke out against the newly-signed Alabama law banning most abortions, now the most restrictive in the country.

"But I must say that I don't think that you are free in this country if your reproductive health can be criminalized by government ... And to see in Alabama that if someone is raped and she seeks an abortion, the doctor who treats her will be penalized with a longer prison term than her rapist, makes me question whether the discussion about freedom in this country has gone off the rails," he said.

Other 2020 contenders including Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandBooker hits fundraising threshold for December debate after surge of post-debate donations Maloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker hits fundraising threshold for December debate after surge of post-debate donations Bicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers The Hill's Morning Report - Sondland stuns; Dems pull punches in fifth debate MORE (D-N.J.) said they support codifying the decision following a series of anti-abortion laws. 

"As President, I will codify Roe v. Wade into law to make it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that women in this country have a guaranteed right to abortion," Gillibrand said while speaking at the Georgia Statehouse, according to a transcript of her remarks. 

Booker told BuzzFeed News in an interview that as president he would also make Roe v. Wade a national law, even if it is overturned by the Supreme Court.  

“Right now I am calling for it, even though obviously with Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs Trump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms Congressional authority in a time of Trump executive overreach MORE and a [majority Republican] Senate, we would not see a vote,” he said. “We need to pass it through the House and Senate, and I look forward to signing that law when I become president."

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Wednesday signed a bill banning almost all abortions into law. Some believe that the bill could present a legal challenge to the Roe v. Wade ruling and give the Supreme Court a chance to overturn the ruling. Other states, including Georgia have recently advanced or passed legislation banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, often about six weeks into pregnancy. 

Buttigieg, Booker and Gillibrand are among more than 20 people competing for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination.