Kamala Harris

US VP Harris Visits Women’s Health Clinic, Stresses Importance of Abortion Rights

March 15, 2024
2 mins read

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday visited a clinic that performs abortions in the Midwestern state of Minnesota in a show of Democratic support for women’s reproductive rights.

Her office said it was the first time one of the top two U.S. leaders had ever visited such a medical facility.

The right to abortion remains a volatile issue ahead of the November national election in a country where typically more than 80,000 abortions are performed every month, even in the time since the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago overturned a nearly five-decade-old ruling that said women had a constitutional right to the procedure.

According to various studies, the number of U.S. abortions has dropped only incrementally since the ruling, even though 14 of the country’s 50 states have banned the procedure. Instead, women seeking to terminate pregnancies in states where it is illegal have traveled to states where abortions are still legal or have obtained medications to end their pregnancies at home.

Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has often boasted to his supporters that he appointed three conservative justices to the Supreme Court who were part of the 6-3 majority that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and was “proud to have done it.”

Some Republican lawmakers have pushed for further abortion restrictions, such as limiting medical abortions. Trump has yet to weigh in with specific proposals, realizing that Democrats have won numerous elections and referendums supporting abortion rights since the Supreme Court ruling.

With that backdrop, Harris has been the most vocal Democrat in supporting abortion rights, traveling to several states while campaigning for reelection on the ticket led by President Joe Biden. She has called it a “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour.

“In this environment, these attacks against an individual’s right to make decisions about their whole body are outrageous, and in many instances, just immoral,” Harris said at a Planned Parenthood facility in St. Paul, Minnesota. “How dare elected leaders believe they are in a better position to tell women what is in their best interest.”

Ahead of her visit, about two dozen protesters gathered outside, holding signs with slogans such as “Life is a human right,” “They’re killing babies here” and “The real war on women.” A heavy police and Secret Service presence surrounded the building in anticipation of the vice president’s arrival.

While Harris has been outspoken in specific support of abortion rights, Biden, a devout Catholic, has in a sense been more restrained.

At his State of the Union address before Congress and a national television audience a week ago, Biden said that if voters sent him “a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.”

He invited Kate Cox, a Texas mother who was denied emergency abortion care and had to travel out of state to receive an abortion, as one of his guests for the annual speech.

What he did not say was the word abortion, even though it was in his prepared text for the evening.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of Pro-Choice Ohio, told NBC News, “It was wonderful to see Kate Cox and her story be uplifted, and, you know, condemn that she had to leave her state to get an abortion.

“But then to not say the word?” Copeland said of Biden. “I think it implies that it’s taboo, and it’s not. It was the health care that she needed. And it’s the health care that many women, trans and nonbinary people have every right to.”

By Ken Bredemeier

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