VP Kamala Harris visits NC, defends reproductive rights 1 year after overturning of Roe v Wade

ByElaina Athans WLS logo
Sunday, June 25, 2023
VP Harris calls for all to stand up to protect reproductive freedom
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to North Carolina on the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to North Carolina on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Harris arrived Saturday morning in Charlotte and went to speak at the Grady Cole Center to rally supporters, advocates, and community leaders to not give up on the fight for reproductive rights.

"How dare they attack our freedom," she said.

Vice President Harris said our country is facing a healthcare crisis all thanks to the United States supreme court's controversial Dobbs ruling.

She began her speech at about 12:45 p.m., following speeches from abortion rights advocates such as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Lt. Gov. Josh Stein as well as UNC Health Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. Amy Bryant.

"This battle for reproductive freedom needs to be waged on every front," Gov. Cooper said

"They are wrong and we must hold them accountable," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said.

The Vice President called for national legislation to protect reproductive rights, saying the Dobbs decision is creating chaos, confusion, and fear in the medical community, in addition to ripping away a woman's constitutional right.

She said North Carolina is on the front lines of the issue.

"The very people who claim to care about the health of women and babies, are the same people who do not treat the maternal mortality crisis as the crisis it is. The hypocrisy," Harris said.

On the 1 year anniversary of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, VP Kamala Harris came to North Carolina to push for a national law protecting reproductive rights.

Since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, 20 states have passed either a ban or highly restrictive policies on abortion. A year after the fall of Roe, 25 million women live in states with abortion bans or tighter restrictions. But 22 states and the District of Columbia have expanded access to abortion care.

Most of the states with severe abortion restrictions are also states that have a high maternal mortality rate and higher rates of stillbirth and miscarriage. Black women are disproportionately affected - they are more than three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Harris argued it's not a coincidence, given that maternal health care and abortion care are linked. The same medical procedures used to perform an abortion are the ones used to treat a miscarriage.

She said this was not an issue of abortion rights, it was an issue of freedom. "Freedom to make decisions about one's own life, one's own body. The freedom to be free from government interference when it comes to one's private decisions. Decisions that are about heart and home."

Harris' senior advisor said Friday that the vice president wants women to know they're not alone in this fight.

"North Carolina is on the front line of this issue," said Stephanie Young. "The state legislature as you know just passed a dangerous abortion ban overriding Gov. Cooper's veto and right now we have 23 million women of reproductive age living in states around this country with extreme abortion bans and this is one out of three American women, and North Carolina is now a part of this list."

Kamala Harris' senior advisor told ABC11 on Friday that the vice president wants women to know they're not alone in this fight.

North Carolina's law, which bans most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy is set to go into effect July 1.

The North Carolina Republican Party released a statement ahead of Harris' visit saying, "Vice President Harris should know North Carolinians reject the extreme policies of this administration. In response to the end of Roe v Wade, North Carolina Republicans have passed reasonable restrictions on abortion well within the mainstream of public opinion on this critical issue."

Her visit comes after President Joe Biden was in North Carolina. He was promoting the need for job creation and also visited the newly renamed Fort Liberty.

The state was also visited recently by numerous candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination including former President Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis. Those GOP leaders all spoke at a conservative convention held in Greensboro.

Statement from President Joe Biden on the Anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization

"One year ago today, the Supreme Court took away a constitutional right from the American people, denying women across the nation the right to choose. Overturning Roe v. Wade, which had been the law of the land for nearly half a century, has already had devastating consequences.
States have imposed extreme and dangerous abortion bans that put the health and lives of women in jeopardy, force women to travel hundreds of miles for care, and threaten to criminalize doctors for providing the health care that their patients need and that they are trained to provide.
Yet, state bans are just the beginning. Congressional Republicans want to ban abortion nationwide, but go beyond that, by taking FDA-approved medication for terminating a pregnancy, off the market, and make it harder to obtain contraception. Their agenda is extreme, dangerous, and out-of-step with the vast majority of Americans.
My Administration will continue to protect access to reproductive health care and call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law once and for all."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.