Harris to mark 50th anniversary of Roe ruling with speech in Florida

Kamala Harris
AP/Leah Millis, pool
Vice President Kamala Harris talks to the media at Yokosuka Naval Base, in Yokosuka, near Tokyo, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will host Treasury’s annual Freedman’s Bank Forum, October 6. (Leah Millis/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Vice President Harris will deliver remarks in Florida on Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, aiming to put the spotlight back on abortion rights following last summer’s ruling that struck down the precedent set by Roe.

Harris will travel to Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last year signed into law a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, to highlight the administration’s efforts to protect reproductive rights and abortion access.

“The Vice President will push for national legislation to protect reproductive rights, and she will draw contrast between the Republicans’ extreme approach to reproductive health and that of the Biden-Harris Administration,” a White House official said of Harris’s planned remarks.

The decision to pick Florida was due to it being at the “forefront” of the fight for reproductive care, senior administration officials said.

Harris plans to push back on legislation in Congress the restricts abortion access, efforts by some Republicans to pass a national abortion ban, and efforts in states to embrace extreme restrictions on abortions, officials said. The speech will also focus on executive actions from the administration to defend reproductive rights.

The vice president has taken a leading role in the Biden administration in pushing back on the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, and her speech will be the main way the White House notes the anniversary of the original ruling.

Harris, the first woman to serve as vice president, has met with health care providers, state and local legislators and activists numerous times in the seven months since Roe was overturned to voice support for abortion access and reproductive health.

The Supreme Court ruling largely kicked the issue back to the states, though some conservatives have argued there should be federal legislation establishing a minimum cutoff for abortions. The White House and Democrats, meanwhile, have pushed for Congress to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade.

But with control of Congress split, any federal legislation is unlikely to pass during this Congress.

House Republicans, as one of their first votes with a new majority, passed two anti-abortion bills: One condemning attacks on anti-abortion facilities, including crisis pregnancy centers, and one to impose penalties if a doctor refused to care for an infant born alive after an attempted abortion.

Administration officials vowed to continue fighting to ensure access to abortion.

Along with Harris’ remarks, President Biden will issue a statement and presidential proclamation on Sunday to mark the anniversary the law was passed.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra will also travel to Minnesota where he will visit a Planned Parenthood. He will also Wisconsin where he will hold an event with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.). 

Officials said his visit is to highlight differences between Minnesota, which is taking steps to protect access to abortion, and Wisconsin, which has “allowed for government interference in deeply personal medical decisions.”

Updated 6:08 p.m.

Tags abortion abortion ruling Biden Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Florida Kamala Harris Roe v. Wade Ron DeSantis

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