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On anniversary of Roe v. Wade reversal, Harris says the ruling created a ‘health care crisis’

“How dare they,” Kamala Harris, the first female vice president, said to a crowd gathered in Charlotte, N.C.

By Rebecca Shabad and Sally Bronston

In a speech marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday condemned the conservative justices for creating a “health care crisis in America.”

“How dare they,” Harris, the first female vice president, said to a crowd gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

She also criticized abortion bans that have been passed in several Republican-led states since the reversal of Roe. The politicians creating these laws “don’t even understand how a woman’s body actually works,” Harris said, as she vowed that the Biden administration will continue to fight for a woman’s right to make their own choices.

“This fight is not only about people in one particular state, these extremists plan to take their agenda national. And that agenda, by the way, goes way beyond reproductive rights. A lot of these same folks attack the right to vote, that prevents the teaching of America’s history.” she said.

The event was among several the White House has held this month to mark the anniversary of the high court’s decision, putting a spotlight on an issue that will likely dominate the 2024 election cycle.

On Friday, President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff participated in a political event with reproductive rights groups. In addition, Biden signed an executive order that seeks to protect and expand access to contraception, which advocates had feared Republicans would target next as they seek to impose more restrictions.

Three of the nation’s leading reproductive rights groups — EMILYs List, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund — also endorsed the Biden-Harris 2024 presidential campaign on Friday.

And last week, the White House hosted events with Democratic legislators from 41 states to discuss state-level attacks on reproductive rights.

Harris’ speech in Charlotte comes exactly a year after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 conservative majority decision to reverse the landmark 1973 ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion. The court’s ruling last year proved to be one of the defining moments of the 2022 midterm elections, galvanizing key voting groups — especially women — in support of Democratic candidates.

Congressional Republicans and GOP presidential candidates have celebrated the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling, while Democrats in Congress are trying to find ways to legislatively protect abortion rights.

House Democrats, for example, have been trying to garner support for a discharge petition that would force a floor vote in the chamber, narrowly controlled by Republicans, on a bill to protect a person’s right to end a pregnancy as well as abortion providers. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Friday that they need only eight more members to sign onto the petition.

But as prospects of protecting abortion services are near-impossible on Capitol Hill, the Biden administration has been trying to navigate ways to safeguard reproductive health care services.

Abortion rights advocates are entrenched in a legal battle over the abortion medication mifepristone, part of a two-drug regimen, to self-manage the ending of a pregnancy. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana recently heard arguments in the case, but the appeals process could take months.

Advocates have had some success in blocking or delaying the implementation of restrictive laws in court. A judge on Thursday ruled that Wyoming’s law to ban medication abortion wouldn’t take effect in July as planned to allow a lawsuit to advance.

Meanwhile, as Republicans continue to chip away at people’s rights to end pregnancies, support for their efforts remains low. A new national NBC News poll found that about 6 in 10 voters in the U.S. remain opposed to the Supreme Court’s ruling, while 36% approved of it. 

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