Gillibrand compares limiting abortion rights to racism

Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Bombshell report reveals officials misled public over progress in Afghanistan | Amazon accuses Trump of 'improper pressure' in Pentagon contract decision | House Judiciary holds final impeachment hearing Gillibrand demands hearing following release of 'Afghanistan Papers' White House, Congress near deal to give 12 weeks paid parental leave to all federal workers MORE (D-N.Y.) compared appointing judges who oppose abortion rights to supporting judicial nominees who hold racist views.

"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 during an interview with the Des Moines Register on Tuesday

"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." 

"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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The comments come on the heels of a series of abortion restrictions in states like Alabama and Missouri, which led to fears among liberals that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that established the right to an abortion, could be overturned. 

The concerns have been amplified by President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence MORE's push to appoint more conservative judges to benches across the country, in addition to the two conservative justices confirmed to the Supreme Court during his term. 

"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," Gillibrand said.   

"There is no moral equivalency when you come to racism, and I do not believe there's a moral equivalency when it comes to laws that deny women reproductive freedom," she added. 

Gillibrand has long been a proponent of abortion rights, most recently taking aim at fellow 2020 Democratic contender Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday FBI head rejects claims of Ukrainian 2016 interference MORE for his recent reversal on the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funds from going toward abortions except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.