US Vice-President Kamala Harris speaks to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1973 US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, in Tallahassee, Florida, on Jan 22, 2023. (DON JUAN MOORE / AFP)
WASHINGTON – Democratic Vice-President Kamala Harris said abortion rights are under attack across the United States in a speech Sunday marking the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that had established a right to abortion until it was overturned last year.
"The right of every woman in every state in the country to make decisions about her own body is on the line," Harris said. "Republicans in Congress are now calling for an abortion ban at the moment of conception nationwide. How dare they?"
Speaking in Tallahassee, Florida, Harris also made the case for federal legislation to protect reproductive rights, which Democrats failed to pass last year when they controlled both chambers of Congress. The proposal is unlikely to win support of Republicans who now hold a narrow majority in the House of Representatives
Last week, White House officials said 60 anti-abortion bills have been filed in the 2023 legislative session and over 26 million women currently live in states that have banned abortion.
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"A majority of Americans oppose these attacks," Harris said, adding voters in states including Kansas, California, Michigan, Montana, Kentucky and Vermont affirmed abortion rights in ballot proposals.
Speaking in Tallahassee, Florida, Harris also made the case for federal legislation to protect reproductive rights, which Democrats failed to pass last year when they controlled both chambers of Congress. The proposal is unlikely to win support of Republicans who now hold a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
On Sunday, Biden released a proclamation to protect access to medication abortion after some state officials took steps to try to prevent women from legally accessing medication abortion.
The Food and Drug Administration said this month that abortion pills would become more widely available at pharmacies and through the mail. A legal battle is underway at a federal court in Texas, where abortion opponents have sued to undo the approval of the drugs.
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Harris's decision to speak in Florida was guided by the state's decision last year to pass an abortion ban without exceptions for rape and incest, White House officials said.
The state's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is a potential 2024 presidential candidate.
Democrats, and some Republicans, cite concerns about the loss of abortion rights for Republicans' weaker-than-expected performance in last year's midterm elections. Biden's party sees abortion as an issue that can help it in the 2024 elections, when control of the White House and both chambers of Congress will be up for grabs.