Harris meets with Democratic state attorneys general on abortion rights
Vice President Harris met with Democratic attorneys general from seven states on Thursday about abortion rights as the White House prepares for a Supreme Court ruling overturning the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade.
Harris spoke with attorneys general from Wisconsin, Nevada, Illinois, California, Delaware, New York, and Washington state at the White House Thursday afternoon about protecting abortion rights.
“I asked these attorneys general to meet with us knowing that they have a pivotal role to play in defending women’s reproductive freedom and their rights to make decisions about their own bodies,” Harris said in brief remarks to reporters at the start of the meeting in the vice president’s ceremonial office.
The vice president said the group would have “preliminary discussions” about how state attorney generals can issue guidance to citizens so they understand their rights and potentially challenge abortion laws being passed in their states.
Harris also underscored that in 43 states, voters elect their attorney general.
“I urge the people of our country to know the power that they have to have an impact on how the laws of their start are enforced,” she said.
A White House official said earlier Thursday that Harris would use the meeting to thank the attorneys general for their work protecting abortion rights and “amplify actions they are taking as models for other states.”
Some of the attorneys general joined the meeting in person while others took part virtually.
Harris, who has been a leading voice for the White House on the abortion issue, and other officials have convened a series of meetings with abortion rights advocates, groups, state officials and other stakeholders over the past several weeks in preparation for the Supreme Court ruling, which will come any time between now and the end of June.
A leaked draft opinion suggesting the court was poised to overturn Roe, the decades-old ruling that said abortion was a constitutional right, sent shockwaves through Washington and the rest of the country early last month.
About two-dozen states are expected to enact more restrictive abortion laws in the wake of the expected ruling.
President Biden has called on Congress to pass a law codifying women’s right to an abortion, but Democrats currently lack the votes to do so in the 50-50 Senate, where they need 60 votes to overcome the GOP filibuster.
The White House is quietly preparing a plan to respond to the eventual Supreme Court ruling. Biden said earlier this month he was considering taking executive action on abortion rights, though the president has very limited options in the steps he can take.
—Updated at 1:30 p.m.