(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Kamala Harris assailed a spate of laws restricting abortion in states across the country one year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, as her predecessor openly embraces a federal ban.
“Over the past 365 days, the women of our nation have suffered under the consequences of these laws,” Harris said, addressing a crowd in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday. “Laws that in design and effect have created chaos, confusion, and fear. Laws that have denied women of our country care even when their life and health were at risk.”
One of those laws is set to take effect in the state on July 1 and will ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The law passed last month after the legislature overrode the Democratic governor’s veto after state Rep. Tricia Cotham switched her party affiliation and gave Republicans a supermajority. Cotham was referenced by two speakers before Harris took the stage, eliciting boos from the crowd each time.
“I feel like the 12-week ban is very unfortunate,” Katie Moydell, a South Carolina resident and manager of an insurance company, told ABC News. “There are many situations when women have either found out recently that they were pregnant or even that there are anomalies with the pregnancy, and I feel like we as women have the rights and the brains to make decisions for our bodies. We should be trusted to make those decisions with our health care providers.”
Kelle Pressley, a doula from Charlotte and a mother of nine, panned the 12-week ban as “ridiculous.”
“Not giving them control of their bodies is taking away their rights to be a human, their right to be an American, the right to be a mother or chose not to be a mother,” Pressley said.
Harris’ speech serves as a bookend to the Biden campaign’s week-long push to center abortion in the election. On Friday, President Joe Biden and Harris, along with the first lady and the second gentleman, attended a rally in Washington, D.C., where they accepted endorsements from pro-abortion groups EMILYs List, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Biden also signed a largely symbolic executive order aiming to promote access to contraception. First lady Jill Biden also held a roundtable on abortion at the White House on Tuesday.
“Reproductive freedom is an issue for all of us. Men, women, everyone. Women cannot be less-than,” second gentleman Doug Emhoff said.
The campaign sees abortion as a winning issue for the ticket.
“Women put Joe and Kamala in the White House,” Jill Biden said Friday. “And we will do it again.”
It’s a rallying cry Harris reiterated Saturday.
“When we fight, we win,” Harris said.
But many of the Republicans competing to take on Biden are leaning into their stances on abortion, with Harris’ predecessor advocating for nationwide restrictions.
“I want to say from my heart, every Republican candidate for president should support a ban on abortion before 15 weeks as a minimum nationwide standard,” former Vice President Mike Pence told an audience at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s conference Friday in the nation’s capital.
Pence has suggested he’s willing to go further, previously saying he’d support banning abortion nationally after just six weeks of pregnancy — a window that would be among the most restrictive proposed by any candidate.
“Extremist Republicans in Congress have proposed to ban abortion nationwide. Nationwide,” Harris said. “But, I have news for them: We’re not having that. We’re not having that.”
Support for abortion being legal has increased since last year, according to recent polling.
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