The White House has been widely criticised for not doing enough to protect abortion access
Vice-president Kamala Harris is being criticised as out of touch with the abortion rights fight after posting a photo of herself watching protests about the overturning of Roe v Wade on TV.
On Friday, after a Supreme Court ruling overturned the landmark 1973 case establishing a constitutional right to an abortion, the vice-president shared a photo of herself watching abortion rights protests on CNN from aboard Air Force 2, the presidential jet.
“I know there are women out there who are afraid,” she wrote on Twitter on Friday. “To those of you who feel alone and scared: I want you to know the President and I are fighting for you and your rights. We are in this fight together.”
The attempted show of solidarity quickly backfired, with many critics arguing the photo was emblematic of what they see as the Biden administration’s largely symbolic response to the landmark end of an era of reproductive rights.
“Could you be specific? Like, *how* are you fighting? Describe the tactics, explain the policy, give us the rundown,” New York Magazine reporter Hillary Kelly asked in response.
“You could try and try but you would not invent a more cutting visual metaphor for the democrats’ total detachment from the abortion fight than this,” added Discourse Blog’s Jack Mirkinson.
The White House claims it has been planning for months for the potential end of Roe, but its response to the reversal has left many infuriated that the Biden administration isn’t doing more.
“This decision must not be the final word,” Mr Biden said in a speech after the ruling on Friday. “My administration will use all of its appropriate lawful powers. Congress must act. And your vote? You can have the final word. This is not over.”
The White House has said it will continue to protect access to commonly used medication abortion drugs, and combat states that try to prevent pregant people from crossing state lines to seek abortion.
But short of protecting what’s already legal, the White House hasn’t done anything new, instead calling on Congress to codify abortion access in federal law.
Many abortion advocates say the Senate needs to abolish the filibuster, or Biden needs to use the legal muscle of the executive branch to allow abortion treatment on federal property in states that have outlawed the procedure, to really make a difference.
In the absence of such concrete steps, critics argue the White House is essentially ceding to the new status quo.
“Go girl give us nothing,” writer Roslyn Talusan posted in response to the photo of the VP watching the protests.
The right, predictably, has had a field day with such liberal criticisms of Ms Harris and Mr Biden.
“Even the left knows Harris was wrong here,” conservative activist and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza wrote on Twitter.