FILE - In this Wednesday, May 1, 2019, file photo, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Harris is offering a new bill to address racial disparities in maternal health care, one of several plans by 2020 presidential candidates on the issue. The California Democrat’s bill would create some $150 million in grant programs to medical schools and states to fight implicit racial bias in medical care for women. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Kamala Harris targets state abortion bans

May 28, 2019 - 12:38 pm

Kamala Harris says she would require states seeking to restrict abortion laws to first obtain federal approval.

The Democratic presidential candidate and California senator says that if she won the White House, she would back legislation requiring states with a history of restricting abortion rights to receive clearance from the Justice Department to change abortion laws.

The move follows laws that recently passed in Georgia, Alabama and other states to drastically restrict abortions.

The pre-clearance requirement would face steep hurdles. The Supreme Court struck down a similar provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, effectively freeing states to change election laws without seeking federal approval.

The Harris campaign argues that decision doesn't ban pre-clearance measures, leaving it up to Congress to decide how to impose such requirements.