Vice President Kamala Harris commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision with a rousing speech in Jacksonville, Florida. Abortion care physician Sujatha Prabhakaran introduced Harris at the Jacksonville rally on Sunday.
What was once treated as a settled right was snatched from millions of women and people capable of pregnancy after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. After acknowledging the horrific mass shooting in Monterey, California, Harris put the commemoration in context.
On what would have been its 50th anniversary, we speak of the roe decision in the past tense because last June, the United States Supreme Court took away that constitutional right a fundamental right a basic freedom from the people of America from the women of America. The court’s action has meant already that many dedicated doctors and nurses now lose their ability to care for their patients. That providers risk going to jail just for doing their job. And that patients are denied critical care and even fear that they will be punished simply for seeking care.
Even as abortion and reproductive justice advocates push for expanded protections and access, Republicans are moving to further restrict and limit abortion access where it remains. Harris drew a sharp contrast with the extremist approaches in many state legislatures as well as House Republicans themselves. The newly minted House Republican majority moved quickly to pass two anti-abortion measures, showing little concern for the will of actual voters.
Voters in Kansas and Kentucky rejected extreme efforts attacking abortion last cycle. In Michigan, voters moved to protect and expand reproductive rights and access including abortion.
The vice president also announced a new directive from President Biden for the administration “to identify barriers to access to prescription medication and to recommend actions to make sure that doctors can legally prescribe, that pharmacies can dispense and that women can secure safe and effective medication.” Earlier in the day, President Biden signed a presidential memorandum on ensuring safe access to medication abortion. The move follows new guidance from the FDA aimed at making medication abortion easily attainable.
A fact sheet released by the White House explained the actions were geared toward protecting legal access to medication abortion and safeguarding patient safety and security.