On January 22nd, Vice President Kamala Harris gave a speech on how abortion rights are being threatened across the United States. The speech took place in Tallahassee, Florida at around 12:20 pm, on what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade if it wasn’t overturned by the United States Supreme Court last June. Harris, the first female vice president of the United States, touched on how Florida is one of the last remaining states in the south that allow abortions, and several people come to Florida seeking an abortion because of this.
She indirectly called out Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, by saying “And can we truly be free if so-called leaders claim to be, quote — I quote, ‘on the vanguard of freedom,’ while they dare to restrict the rights of the American people and attack the very foundations of freedom?” Harris said.
The Vice President then shared two stories exhibiting the deadliness of not being able to receive medical attention because of the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Vice President Harris shared that a 10-year-old child in Ohio was sexually assaulted and became pregnant. The girl then had to leave her state and travel to another state to receive care. The audience also learned about Amanda, a 35-year-old woman from Texas that couldn’t get treatment amid a miscarriage, and was denied treatment three times because of the abortion ban. The hospital only admitted her when she was on death's door with sepsis. Vice President Harris then shared with the audience that Amanda survived and was there in the audience with her husband.
Last week, White House officials said 60 anti-abortion bills have been filed in the 2023 legislative session and over 26 million women currently live in states that have banned abortion. It is well known that Florida plans to further restrict abortion access which is why Kamala said this. When Roe v. Wade was overturned, the right to an abortion was given to the states. Ron DeSantis decided to allow abortion, but only for up to 15 weeks.
After 15 weeks it is currently illegal to get an abortion in Florida, even in the case of rape and incest. DeSantis says he’s eager to expand Florida’s abortion restrictions but avoided giving specifics for what he supported. “I’m willing to sign [more] life legislation,” DeSantis said.
The Vice President made a case for federal /legislation during the speech which was followed by President Biden’s putting forth a Memorandum on Ensuring Safe Access to Medication Abortion. However, this proposal is unlikely to win the support of Republicans who now hold a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
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