Kamala Harris photo

Remarks by the Vice President at a Reproductive Freedoms Organizing Event in Las Vegas, Nevada

April 15, 2024

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Can we hear it for Joi? (Applause.)

Hi, everyone. Please have a seat. Have a seat.

Joi, you are — and I — and I got to meet that baby girl of yours. Oh, my god, she's precious. To you and your husband and to your family, I thank you for your courage and your willingness to share your story.

And to everyone here, I thank you for your leadership and your work and all that you are doing on behalf of so many people who deserve to be seen, deserve to be heard, and whose voices are so important about what this issue means.

I want to thank the leaders who are here. I don't want to miss anybody. I hope I don't. But I do know that Arizona Senator Burch is here. Where are you? Hi. There you are. (Applause.) We were just together on Friday in Tucson.

I'm — you know, again, if I could just take a moment to say that I have met some extraordinary people over the course of these last two years, who have been willing to share something that is so personal and would otherwise be very private — it's their business — it's not everybody's business; it's their business — and, because of what has happened, have decided to share your stories because you know how many other people are being affected who may not have the ability to stand before a microphone and the press and talk about these things.

And that takes a lot, because you're going through your own experience and you're sharing it with perfect strangers. And so, I want to thank you guys.

And there's so many other people who, over the course of these last two years, have been sharing their story so that we understand this is not about politics, this is not about ideology. This is about the fact that far too many people are suffering and should not have to.

So, thank you guys. And thank you again to Senator Burch. (Applause.)

Congresswoman Dina Titus, I thank you always for your leadership in this beautiful state of Nevada. (Applause.) Nevada State Party Chair Daniele — where is she? — thank you very much — Monroe-Moreno. (Applause.)

My dear friend, the Attorney General, General Ford, I thank you — (applause) — for fighting for justice every day and fighting for the — the spirit behind the principles that were the foundation for our country and are enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. I thank you for your work.

And then Senator Jacky Rosen could not be here, but let's get her reelected, please, to the United States Senate. (Applause.)

So, I was in Tucson on Friday, and we talked about it, and I'm going to just share a little bit about what is obvious to everyone here. Freedom is fundamental to the promise of America. When we talk about the promise of America, foundationally, we believe in freedom. We know that the strength of our nation has been a function of many things, including our commitment to the expansion of rights.

But for the first time in a very long time, we are seeing a full-on attent — intent to restrict rights, to take rights.

We just witnessed the highest court in our land, almost two years ago — the court of Thurgood and RBG — take a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America, from the women of America.

And thereafter, in state after state, laws being proposed and passed that would criminalize healthcare providers — I mean, literally laws that are providing for prison time for doctors and nurses — in Texas, for life — laws that would punish women, laws that are meant to judge and make people feel as though they've done something wrong and as though they are alone and should be embarrassed, laws that are immoral.

An example being those that make no exception even for rape or incest, which means you are telling a survivor of a crime — a violation to their body — violence to their body — that they don't have the right to determine what happens to their body next. Immoral.

So, we are here to say that we're not going to stand for this. It is not okay, and we are prepared to organize and to take to the streets and to knock on doors and to text folks and to let everyone know their power at this moment to protect the rights of the people of our country.

And so, I wanted to stop by here to thank, in particular, the organizers and volunteers that are doing this work in preparation for the ballot initiative coming up in November here in Nevada. (Applause.)

And, look, they're holding up their clipboards. Exactly. (Laughs.) (Applause.)

And you guys are making such a difference, because it is also about reminding folks that we're all in this together and reminding folks it doesn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be this way.

But, you know, the thing about a democracy that is founded on the notion of individual rights and liberties and freedoms is that we got to fight and be vigilant to maintain those rights and freedoms. Right?

You know, the nature of democracy is such that it's really — there's a duality to it. When a democracy is intact, oh, the strength — the strength that it invests in its people, in protection of their individual rights and liberties and freedoms — the strength it gives its people. And it is very fragile. A democracy is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. (Applause.)

And that's what you all are doing. That's what — and that's what we're doing together. That's what we're doing together.

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And we are going to win across — we're going to win this ballot initiative. And Joe Biden and I are going back to the White House.

But let me just tell you — (applause) — and here's the thing about this election in terms of that point about the White House and who sits in those seats — I know that the speakers mentioned it earlier. On this issue of — of the freedom to make decisions about one's own body, the right to have access to reproductive healthcare, the right to have that autonomy and that authority and not have it be taken from their government, not having people who sit up in a — in a statehouse telling people what they're supposed to do and what is in their best interest as though the women of America don't know what is in their own best interest — on the issue of this subject and then the upcoming election, let us be clear: There is a direct track between what we have seen in states like Arizona, what the people of Nevada are fighting for, and who the previous president was.

Let's not forget, Donald Trump made clear his intention to select three members of the United States Supreme Court so that they would overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade. It was his stated intention, and they did as he intended.

And you all — many of you may remember, I was in the United States Senate at the time and served on the Judiciary Committee and would raise the subject. Sadly, a lot of us could see what was going to come, and exactly what we feared happened because there was a president who has the power to select members of the United States Supreme Court who intended to undo these protections.

Let's be clear, then, that when he sits back and most recently says, "Well, I believe that the states should make these decisions," he says — right? Okay. So, you believe that the states have a right to reinstate laws from the 1800s to criminalize healthcare providers, to provide up to prison for life, no exception for crimes of violence to someone's body.

So, let's all be clear: What we are seeing in these states that we are talking about are Trump abortion bans, and he can't get away from that. Those are Trump abortion bans.

And this election is about many, many important issues, including the ability of the people to organize in support of what we believe to be foundational values and principles about who we are as America.

And when we look at our power, let's not forget the power of the people, and let's not overlook the momentum we've already achieved. I'll remind us: When this issue has been on the ballot —

(A child in the audience cries.)

Yes, my love. (Laughter.)

When this issue has been on the ballot — from Kentucky to California, from Virginia to Ohio, when this issue has been on the ballot, the voters voted in favor of freedoms — in red state and blue — making clear, by the way, this is not a partisan issue — making clear there is a consensus among the American people that it is wrong to take rights from the people of our country.

So, momentum is on our side. We have 205 days until the election. Yes, I am counting. (Laughter.)

And I do believe that the work that we are doing and are committed to doing — because you're here — over these next 205 days is not only important, but it's — it's fun. (Laughs.)

Isn't it fun to work on a campaign? (Applause.) Isn't it fun to meet people you may not have otherwise ever met before who all come together in a place like this, who are all carrying those — those boards, just working together because we believe in each other and we know the power that we have, especially when we come together?

And so, I just want to leave everyone with this thought, which is there is so much good in our country and in the world, but we can't take anything for granted.

And this is an extraordinary group of leaders who are doing this work here in this beautiful state of Nevada, who are going to have an impact, for the most part, on people that you may never meet, people who may never know your name, but who are forever going to be benefited because of the work that you all are doing. (Applause.)

And so, I came by to thank you for all that you are doing in defense of our country and each other. And let's just carry on. And we're going to take this to November.

And we're going to reelect Jacky Rosen to the United States Senate. (Applause.) And we're going to get this ballot measure passed. And we're going to reelect Joe Biden as President of the United States, and I'm going to head back too. (Applause.)

Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

Kamala Harris, Remarks by the Vice President at a Reproductive Freedoms Organizing Event in Las Vegas, Nevada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/371270

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