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Kamala Harris at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In light of recent anti-abortion laws throughout the country, 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is proposing a plan that would require states trying to restrict abortion access to pre-clear any new reproductive health laws with the Department of Justice.

Why it matters: Harris is outlining a clear vision of her priorities if elected president shift the burden from those that face discrimination to those in power, particularly for women.

  • Last week Harris unveiled a plan to end the gender pay gap by fining non-compliant companies, making employers — not the employees — accountable for the problem.
  • This time, she's proposing the burden be on states to prove they're not violating constitutional rights by restricting abortion.

Details: Harris' reproductive rights proposal was formally unveiled during an MSNBC town hall on Tuesday night.

  • Any state that has introduced laws in violation of Roe v. Wade in the last 25 years — her campaign points to South Carolina, Iowa, and Georgia as examples — have to obtain a pre-clearance from the DOJ to move forward with any new abortion laws.
  • That's similar to the Voting Rights Act, which requires a "pre-clearance" process that "blocks discrimination before it occurs."
  • The plan adds to the Women's Health Protection Act, which Harris co-sponsors in the Senate and which goes after state laws that restrict abortion access.
  • Any new abortion laws "in a covered jurisdiction" will be illegal and unenforceable until the DOJ determines whether they are compliant with both the Women's Health Protection Act and Roe v. Wade.
  • Health care providers and their patients would have the ability to sue the DOJ if it doesn't enforce the abortion rights guaranteed under Roe and the Women's Health Protection Act.

What they're saying: Proposed abortion bans like in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri "will be struck down right away because they're patently unconstitutional, but there's a burden on Planned Parenthood and the ACLU to challenge those laws," said Laurie Rubiner, former vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood. "I like that she's thinking so creatively about shifting that burden."

  • "The pre-clearance provision is surprising in the sense that it's really bold, which is great. I think it's really badly needed," Rubiner added.

The big picture: Other 2020 candidates — like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bernie Sanders — have released detailed abortion plans, but none have proposed a pre-clearance requirement.

Go deeper: Kamala Harris on the issues, in under 500 words

Go deeper

Australia opposes UN report warning Great Barrier Reef is "in danger"

A green sea turtle swimming among the corals at Lady Elliot island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef should be included in a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger" from climate change, a United Nations committee said in a report Tuesday.

Yes, but: Australia's government said it will "strongly oppose" the recommendation by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Abolishing filibuster would weaken "democracy's guardrails"

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) defended her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, saying to do so would weaken "democracy's guardrails."

Why it matters: There have been growing calls from Democrats, particularly progressives, to overhaul the rules as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on a massive voting rights package. But Sinema writes in her op-ed that if this were to happen "we will lose much more than we gain."

Court blocks California assault weapons ban repeal

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a judge's ruling that overturned California's 30-year assault weapons ban.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled earlier this month that the ban was unconstitutional and likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now granted a stay, pending appeal.