Gillibrand compares limiting abortion rights to racism

Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandExpanding our health force can save lives and create jobs simultaneously Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic 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. 

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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 TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally 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 BidenBiden says Trump executive order is 'a reckless war on Social Security' Trump got into testy exchange with top GOP donor Adelson: report Blumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections 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.