Vice President Harris on Friday said that the Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade had spurred a “health care crisis” in the United States and warned that other rights were under threat.
“This is a health care crisis because, understand, millions of women in America will go to bed tonight without access to the health care and reproductive care that they had this morning,” Harris said in remarks from Plainville, Ill.
Echoing President Biden’s remarks hours earlier, Harris urged voters to elect more Democrats in order to enshrine the right to an abortion in law, as well as protect the rights to birth control, same-sex marriage and interracial marriage.
“The great aspiration of our nation has been to expand freedom. But the expansion of freedom clearly is not inevitable. It is not something that just happens, not unless we defend our most fundamental principles, not unless we elect leaders who stand up for those principles,” Harris told her audience.
“You have the power to elect leaders who will defend and protect your rights. And as the president said earlier today with your vote, you can act, and you have the final word. So, this is not over,” she said.
Harris had been in Illinois to discuss the administration’s work on maternal health care, but her speech was reworked to address the Supreme Court ruling Friday morning.
The 6-3 decision by a majority of conservative justices struck down Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling almost 50 years ago that said abortion was a constitutional right.
The move was expected following a leaked draft ruling published by Politico last month, but it nevertheless has sent shockwaves through the country.
Thirteen states in the U.S. have so-called trigger laws that restrict abortion and will take effect now that Roe has been struck down.
Harris has been meeting with stakeholders on abortion rights in recent weeks and rebuked the draft ruling during a speech at an EMILY’s List gala last month.
On Thursday, she met with a group of Democratic attorneys general to discuss how to push back on state laws restricting abortion.
In remarks from the White House, Biden said the Supreme Court had made a “tragic error” and accused the court of taking the country down an “extreme and dangerous path.”
He also vowed to protect access to abortion pills and contraception and urged voters to elect lawmakers who support abortion rights so that Congress can enact a law guaranteeing women the right to an abortion.