Kamala Harris photo

ICYMI: Vice President Harris Convenes State Legislative Leaders for Roundtable Discussion on Protecting Reproductive Rights

July 09, 2022

Yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris convened state legislative leaders from Indiana, Florida, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana who are fighting on the frontlines to protect reproductive rights. All five states have Republican-controlled state legislatures and Republican governors, and may soon call special sessions to pass abortion bans.

During the meeting, the Vice President heard from the state legislative leaders about what is happening in their states, and she reiterated the Administration's commitment to partnering with elected leaders at the local, state, and federal level to protect reproductive health care access.

Participants included Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta, incoming Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, South Dakota House Minority Whip Erin Healy, Nebraska State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, and Montana State Senator Diane Sands.

Read more below:

Washington Post: This just in: Harris is 'in for the fight' about abortion, per state rep at White House meeting
[Lori Rozsa, 07/08/2022]

Florida state Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D), one of five state legislators who met with Vice President Harris at the White House on Friday to talk about abortion rights, said Harris is "in for the fight" and recognizes the head winds Democrats in Florida face on the issue.

"I certainly got the sense from the vice president that she believes that Florida is a key state, and that it is important for the administration to direct some attention there because of the battles we're facing," Driskell said. […]

Harris invited Driskell, along with Democrats from state legislatures in South Dakota, Indiana, Nebraska and Montana, to the White House to discuss the role states can play in restoring abortion rights across the country.

Florida Phoenix: In national roundtable with VP Harris, state Rep. Driskell condemns FL abortion ban
[Ariana Figueroa and Laura Cassels, 07/08/2022]

Vice President Kamala Harris met Friday with Democratic state legislators from Indiana, Florida, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana to discuss ways to protect reproductive rights.

"The U.S. Supreme Court took away a constitutional right," Harris said, adding that the overturning of Roe v. Wade poses one of the most challenging and troubling issues of the day." […]

Representing Florida, incoming House Democratic leader Fentrice Driskell said the Republican-led state Legislature will not stop at its new 15-week abortion ban.

Tampa Bay Times: Florida Democratic leader Fentrice Driskell meets with VP Harris
[Romy Ellenbogen, 07/08/2022]

Fentrice Driskell, the recently-elected leader of the Florida House Democrats, will be one of a handful of state legislators to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris this afternoon to discuss the future of abortion. Driskell, a Tampa state representative, is the only legislator from Florida attending the meeting. […]

"We want to make sure she doesn't suffer any civil or criminal penalties for exercising her choice over such a personal and private decision," Driskell said.

Nebraska Public Media: Pansing Brooks tells VP Harris Abortion Fight Continues in Nebraska
[Fred Knapp, 07/08/2022]

Nebraska State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks told Vice President Kamala Harris Friday that the fight to protect abortion rights will continue in Nebraska.

Pansing Brooks was among five lawmakers from various states, including Indiana, Florida, South Dakota and Montana, in addition to Nebraska – invited to Washington Friday to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris. In what Harris described as a discussion on abortion, the Vice President made an opening statement, then listened as the lawmakers described the situation in their states. When it was her turn to speak, Pansing Brooks' described how supporters of abortion rights had prevented the state from passing a trigger law that would have banned abortion last session, and would continue to fight.

Lincoln Journal Star: Pansing Brooks tells vice president she'll fight to protect abortion rights
[Don Walton, 07/08/2022]

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, the Democratic nominee in November's rematch with Republican Congressman-elect Mike Flood of Norfolk, told Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday that she and other supporters of women's abortion rights will continue to "fight with passion and determination" to protect them.

The decision has "spread fear, sadness and rage," Pansing Brooks said.

"The government does not deserve a seat at my daughter's exam table," she said. […]

Harris described the court's decision as "unthinkable" and said it "took a constitutional right away from the women of America."

Lakeshore Public Radio: GiaQuinta joins federal roundtable on abortion with Vice President Kamala Harris
[Lauren Chapman, July 8, 2022]

House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) was in Washington, D.C., Friday to join Vice President Kamala Harris for a roundtable on abortion access. He was invited along with other state legislators from states with Republican-controlled Statehouses.

During his remarks, GiaQuinta highlighted a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had to travel to Indiana to seek an abortion after she was raped. He said Republican lawmakers will end that access once they return for a special session on July 25. […]

Vice President Harris said the debate on abortion access and the harm to pregnant people seeking health care is no longer "an intellectual discussion."

WPTA: Fort Wayne lawmaker meets with VP Harris on abortion issues
[Jonathan Shelley, July 8, 2022]

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta joined lawmakers from three other states on Friday for a White House meeting to discuss abortion rights following a landmark Supreme Court ruling. The Fort Wayne state representative discussed that issue in a session with Vice President Kamala Harris late Friday afternoon. […]

An ABC21 producer who spoke with GiaQuinta outside the White House asked if he was satisfied by the steps the Administration is taking on the matter.

"The vice president and the president certainly are well aware of the issue," he told us. "I think local reps, U.S. reps, are mobilizing constituents back home to testify... to work on the issue. So I do. I think the administration is doing a nice job, excellent job of getting that message out that they believe in the health and welfare of women. And again, that politicians have no business being in that decision."

Argus Leader: South Dakota's Rep. Erin Healy meets with VP Kamala Harris to discuss abortion restrictions
[Annie Todd, July 8, 2022]

South Dakota's Rep. Erin Healy (D-Sioux Falls) met with Vice President Kamala Harris and other Democratic lawmakers from across the United States on Friday to discuss reproductive rights in the wake of the overturn of Roe v. Wade. […]

"How close to death does someone have to be before a doctor intervenes?" Healy questioned during her opening remarks to the group, which touched on South Dakota's trigger law. […]

Harris, who also spoke during the live streamed opening remarks of the meeting, touched on about the impending healthcare crisis before the group went behind closed doors to continue the discussion.

"Women should be able to make decisions about their body," the vice president said.

Mitchell Republic: Rumored abortion-related travel bans 'unenforceable,' SD lawmaker tells VP Harris at White House roundtable
[Hunter Dunteman, July 8, 2022]

A South Dakota state representative was in Washington on Friday to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and other lawmakers for a roundtable discussion on the fight to protect women's reproductive rights in Republican-controlled states.

Rep. Erin Healy, D-Sioux Falls, represented South Dakota at the White House, alongside Democratic lawmakers from Florida, Indiana, Montana and Nebraska — all of which have Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures. […]

Harris said the group gathered before her all share a belief that women should be able to make decisions about their own bodies without interference from their government.

Montana Right Now: State Senator Diane Sands says she will fight to keep abortion the law of the land in Montana following meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris
[Bradley Warren, July 9, 2022]

Montana State Senator, Diane Sands, of Missoula met with the Vice President of the United States and shared concerns about the potential loss to access reproductive health care in Montana.

Our Bradley Warren spoke with Sands from the Vice Presidents' Office following the meeting. Sands made it very clear from the jump, she would not sit quietly and allow for these rights to be taken away from Montanans.

"I feel empowered and inspired," Sands said, "This is encouraging when you've been through as many battles over issues of reproductive issues as I have been to realize these are national issues and fundamental issues."

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Vice president discusses abortion access with state Democratic legislative leaders
[Ariana Figueroa, July 8, 2022]

Vice President Kamala Harris met Friday with Democratic state legislators from Indiana, Florida, South Dakota, Nebraska and Montana to discuss ways to protect reproductive rights.

"The U.S. Supreme Court took away a constitutional right," Harris said, adding that the overturning of Roe v. Wade was one of the most pressing issues facing the country.

The White House said all five states represented have legislatures controlled by Republicans and Republican governors and some may be calling special sessions soon to either ban or further restrict abortion.

Additional Coverage:

ABC News: 'Women will die' because of abortion trigger law: South Dakota official
Washington Post: Harris to meet with Democratic legislators from antiabortion states
KOLN: Pansing Brooks meets with V.P. Kamala Harris
Indy Star: Indiana lawmaker to meet with Kamala Harris about safeguarding abortion access
Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly: Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, to discuss abortion issues with Vice President Kamala Harris
The Journal Gazette: VP Harris meets with GiaQuinta, other lawmakers
SDPB Radio: South Dakota lawmaker tells White House about potential 'grim' abortion policy
Independent Record: Missoula Democrat urges federal support for abortion access in meeting with VP

Kamala Harris, ICYMI: Vice President Harris Convenes State Legislative Leaders for Roundtable Discussion on Protecting Reproductive Rights Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/356803

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