Harris will meet with Democratic lawmakers from anti-abortion states

Vice President Harris will meet on Friday with Democratic lawmakers from states expected to enact or strengthen abortion bans in the coming months, following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wadeaccording to a senior White House official.

The states – Indiana, Florida, South Dakota, Nebraska and Montana – all have Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures, and many have indicated they will soon act to further restrict access to abortions.

South Dakota and Florida have already passed versions of abortion bans, but they could call special sessions to tighten those restrictions. Indiana’s special session on abortion is scheduled to begin July 25.

Since the court overturned Roe vs. Wade on June 24, the administration asked Harris to take a lead role in its response. She has held meetings with religious leaders, healthcare providers, constitutional law and privacy experts, and attorneys general to strategize on how to protect abortion access and to prevent the erosion of other rights.

Administration officials see the first female vice president, who is of black and Asian descent, as a particularly strong messenger on the issue of abortion rights. At the Essence Festival on Saturday, one of the largest gatherings of black women in the country, Harris said there is a connection between states that take away the right to abortion and those that restrict the right to vote.

“At least 11 states are doing both at the same time,” Harris said. “No surprises there.”

During Friday’s meeting, according to the official, Harris will encourage lawmakers to continue fighting for reproductive rights in their states and convey the White House’s commitment to help them.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, the administration has rushed to show it is doing everything in its power to protect access to abortion — and has faced withering criticism from the from grassroots Democrats worried that the White House isn’t doing enough.

Biden and Harris told voters they should vent their anger at the November polls and give Democrats the legislative majorities they need to enshrine abortion access in federal law. But those exhortations ring hollow for some activists who say their votes for Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress in 2020 and that they were disappointed with the outcome.

Biden said his administration would seek to ensure access to medical abortions, which can be prescribed through telehealth visits and induced by mail-in pills, potentially circumventing state abortion restrictions. The administration has also sought to find ways to help women cross state lines to obtain abortions.

States seek to prevent women from crossing state lines to have abortions

Harris had initial reservations about becoming the face of the administration’s response, fearing being typecast on the issue because of her gender, according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity. to disclose sensitive dynamics. In the end, she decided to tackle the problem and should play a leading role in the months to come.

Friday’s meeting, which will take place in the vice president’s ceremonial office, will be broadcast live on the White House website.

Attendees include Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta; Fentrice Driskell, new leader of the Florida House Minority; Erin Healy, South Dakota Minority Whip; Nebraska State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks; and Montana State Senator Diane Sands.

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