Where Mike Pence and Kamala Harris Stand on Abortion Rights and Roe v Wade

The first and only vice presidential debate of the 2020 election will take place on Wednesday, October 7, between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris.

The debate will be moderated by USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page and will cover a number of issues following the contentious first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

However, the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has brought the topic of abortion rights into renewed focus. Pence and Harris have very different views on the landmark SCOTUS abortion ruling that guarantees it, Roe. v Wade.

Pence is staunchly pro-life and has previously argued that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, while Harris has maintained a 100 percent rating from NARAL, a pro-choice group, throughout her time in the Senate.

During the 2016 election, Pence said he hoped Roe v. Wade would end up on "the ash heap of history" and repeated his views in 2018 when Justice Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court.

"I stand for the sanctity of life," Pence told CNN's Dana Bash at the time. "This administration, this President are pro-life, but what the American people ought to know is that, as the President said today, this is not an issue he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh, I didn't discuss it with him either."

When he was asked if wanted to see Roe v. Wade overturned, he said: "I do, but I haven't been nominated to the Supreme Court."

"Joe Biden supports taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up to birth," Pence said on September 5 of this year. The Biden campaign has accused Pence of "repeating a false and twisted narrative about abortion."

By contrast, Harris has supported abortion rights and Roe v. Wade. In 2019, she proposed a plan to protect abortion rights that would be modelled on the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Harris' plan would have required states with a pattern of restricting abortion rights to obtain preclearance from the Department of Justice before they could pass new laws on the subject.

Following Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, Harris warned that her confirmation could threaten access to abortion. She said Trump, Coney Barrett and Republicans had "made clear that they want to over turn Roe v. Wade and restrict reproductive rights and freedoms."

"Judge Barrett has a long record of opposing abortion and reproductive rights," Harris said. "There is no other issue that so disrespects and dishonors the work of Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg's life than undoing the seminal decision in the court's history that made it clear a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body."

Some conservatives have accused Harris of anti-Catholic bigotry because of her opposition to Coney Barrett, while pro-abortion groups criticized her for allowing Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in California to deny elective abortions when it entered a partnership with St. Joseph Health System, a Catholic organization. She was attorney general of the state at the time.

Kingsbury Hall, Site of the VP Debate
Kingsbury Hall, the site of the first Vice Presidential debate of the US 2020 election, is seen at the University of Utah on October 5, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. - Plexiglass will separate US Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris at the debate on October 7, a campaign aide said, reflecting changes aimed at protecting the rivals against the spread of the coronavirus. The candidates have very different views on abortion. ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images