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 ButtigiegGroup of wealthy Americans write open letter asking to be taxed more The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate 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 Elizabeth GillibrandJuan Williams: Warren on the rise 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown 2020 Democrats vow to expand abortion access at Planned Parenthood event MORE (D-N.Y.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerInslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Progressive group launches campaign to identify voters who switch to Warren 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 McConnellBiden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility California governor predicts 'xenophobic' GOP will likely be third party in 15 years This week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request 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.