Vice President Kamala Harris talks fight for reproductive health care while in Chicago for UIC forum

Saturday, September 17, 2022
VP Harris attends 'Get Out The Vote' rally at UIC
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The rally bringing together Democrat leaders from across the state with a boost from Vice President Kamala Harris

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Vice President Kamala Harris is in Chicago Friday to take part in a political rally at UIC.

The vice president is with Governor JB Pritzker as they work to energize Democrats ahead of the general election.

Vice President Harris touched down for a day of politics in Chicago, greeted by a small delegation of local female Democratic lawmakers.

Harris arrives as Chicago is squarely in the crosshairs of multiple national controversial political issues, namely, abortion rights and immigration.

But all eyes on the November election which is now less than two months away.

A couple of hundred of the party faithful gathering for the rally, joining many state and local elected officials who stressed the importance of getting to the polls for the November election.

"We have a mission and in 53 days, we need to send a strong message that Illinois and Chicago supports women's right to choose," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

While abortion rights are enshrined in Illinois law, it was the key rallying cry among speakers who see the overturning of Roe vs. Wade as one to galvanize support for democrats.

"Roe-ember is coming. In Roe-vember, we will show them that Illinois votes. That here in Illinois, we're never going to back down on protecting reproductive rights," said Illinois House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch.

RELATED: Vice President Harris holding reproductive healthcare roundtable Friday in Chicago

Earlier in the day, she also discussed the fight for reproductive health care.

In her first stop of the day, Harris sat with Chicago's mayor, Governor Pritzker and abortion providers.

After the Supreme Court's ruling overturning the nationwide constitutional right to abortion, Illinois is now one of the only states in the Midwest that's vowed to continue providing protections for women seeking abortions.

With abortion a key issue for democrats this election, one they hope will drive women to the polls, the vice president thanksed Governor Pritzker for protecting a woman's right to choose while other states around Illinois are imposing restrictions.

"So we convened today to talk about -- we in each of our respective positions of leadership -- what we can do individually and collectively to address this issue and, frankly, this injustice," Harris said. "It is through the leadership of governors, like Governor Pritzker, that we look to for what states, like Illinois, have been and continue to do to not only provide for the women of this state but as the governor has said, and he and I've talked about this, under his leadership to be a safe haven for women around the state and in neighboring and surrounding states."

WATCH | VP Harris talks fight for reproductive health care

Vice President Kalama Harris arrives as Chicago is squarely in the crosshairs of multiple national controversial political issues.

Medical providers in Illinois told the vice president that the increased demand is weighing heavily on them.

"Today is exactly 12 weeks post Dobbs. We have received calls from over 4,500 people seeking support. People from over 40 states and two countries have received our support in accessing abortion care right here in Illinois," said Megan Jafo, with Chicago Abortion Funds.

RELATED: Kamala Harris speaks on 'outrageous' repeal of Roe at Essence Festival

This comes just a day after Indiana's near total ban on abortion went into effect. It prohibits almost all abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother or fetus are in danger.

"It's despicable. It's misogynistic and it's deadly. There's no doubt that our nation is headed down a dangerous spiral, one where a radical few dictate who does and doesn't deserve rights," Governor Pritzker said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the vice president what her administration in Chicago has done to try and expand access to abortions in Chicago, as well as protect providers and people traveling from out of state.

"I issued an Executive Order earlier this summer that barred any city agency, and notably our police department, from cooperating in any way with any of these states that are seeking that kind of information to try to capitalize women or providers. We know how to do that, because we've done that in a context of not cooperating with ice regarding immigration issues," Lightfoot said.

RELATED | Vice President Kamala Harris in Chicago area Friday, addresses abortion ruling in Plainfield speech

"Elections matter. We have a midterm coming up in 53 days, who's your governor matters whether they're gonna protect these rights and support these rights to freedom and liberty, it matters," Harris said.

Now Vice President Harris said she will take what she heard in Chicago back to lawmakers in Washington.

The Republican National Committee responded to all of this in a statement saying: "If Kamala Harris, JB Pritzker and Lori Lightfoot spent as much time fixing their policies that brought Chicagoans rising taxes, historic inflation, and rampant crime as they did talking about abortion, Chicago voters might be able to provide for their families and keep them safe."