Vice President Harris on Thursday spoke with a group of abortion providers who she said are serving “on the front lines” of a “war on women’s rights.”
Harris held a virtual meeting with doctors, nurses and reproductive rights advocates who are working in states with particularly restrictive abortion laws like Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. The gathering was prompted by news earlier this month that the Supreme Court had drafted an opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that protects a woman’s right to an abortion.
“We cannot deny that this decision will have real and immediate effects on women around our country,” Harris said. “So, I am here today, joined by doctors, nurses and leading advocates, who are on the front lines against this war on women’s rights.”
Harris noted that her remarks came less than an hour after legislators in Oklahoma approved a bill that would effectively outlaw all abortions except to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of a rape that was reported to authorities.
Harris called the Oklahoma law “outrageous, and it’s just the latest in a series of extreme laws around the country. Several of the medical professionals joining us today are seeing the impact of these laws that are designed to punish and control women.”
The Biden administration has spoken out strongly against efforts to restrict abortion access, but has struggled to find concrete ways to protect reproductive health in the face of the potential Supreme Court ruling.
A vote last week on the Women’s Health Protection Act failed as Republican senators and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted to block consideration of the bill, which would have would have protected various abortion procedures across the nation.
Harris and President Biden have urged Americans to elect more pro-abortion lawmakers in response to the looming decision and failed Senate vote.
The vice president on Thursday cautioned other rights could be at risk if the Supreme Court throws out Roe, such as the right to use contraception and the right to marry regardless of race or sexual orientation.
“Overturning Roe opens the door to restricting those rights,” she said. “It would be a direct assault on the fundamental right of self-determination— to live and love without interference from the government.”