In Jacksonville, VP Kamala Harris Says Abortion Rights Are A Fight For Freedom

Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix

A little more than 14 hours after a six-week abortion ban became the law of the land in Florida, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke in Jacksonville, where she put the responsibility for the new restrictions directly at the hands of former President Donald Trump.

“As of this morning, 4 million women in this state woke up with fewer reproductive freedoms than they had last night. This is the new reality, under a Trump abortion ban,” Harris said on Wednesday afternoon. “Starting this morning women in Florida became subject to an abortion ban so extreme it applies before many women even know that they are pregnant. Which by the way tells us, the extremists who wrote this ban, either don’t know how a woman’s body works, or they simply don’t care.”

While Democrats continue to push on Trump — who added three conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court during his tenure— Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature approved the measure and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the rigid six-week abortion ban.

Harris’ appearance in Florida comes just eight days after President Joe Biden came to Tampa, and both of their speeches focused on the new abortion ban, which now will affect reproductive rights for women across the southern United States. With complete abortion bans in nearby states like Alabama and Mississippi, Florida had been a refuge of last resort for women in the Southeast to legally access an abortion, but that has now changed with the six-week ban now in effect.

“Today 1 in 3 women of reproductive age live in a state with a Trump abortion ban,” Harris said. “Many with no exception for rape or incest.”

She then told the audience that when she had begun her career as a prosecutor, she chose to specialize in working on crimes against women and children. She said the reason why that became her focus was because of a high school best friend who had been molested by her stepfather.

“And one does not have to abandon their faith, or deeply held beliefs to agree, the government should not be telling her what to do!” she said, generating the largest round of cheers in her 16-minute address.

In a TIME magazine interview published on Tuesday, Trump said abortion rights should be left to the states. But Democrats continue to insist that if he is elected again, the former president would sign a national abortion ban if such a bill came to his desk.

“How do we know?” Harris asked rhetorically. “Congress tried to pass a national abortion ban in 2017, and the then-president Trump endorsed it, and promised to sign it if it got to his desk,” she said.

Trump did say as recently as this past March that he was leaning toward a 15-week national ban on abortions, but ultimately announced he wanted to leave the choice with the states.

“So here’s what a second [Trump] term looks like,” Harris said. “More bans. More suffering. Less freedom.”

She went on to cite how abortion rights measures have won at the polls every single time over the past two years in both red and blue states, proving that it is not a partisan issue, and she exhorted the crowd to make their voices heard when they vote on a constitutional amendment in Florida this fall. If it receives 60% support from voters, the measure would return a woman’s right to have an abortion up until the point of viability.

Among those who were seen at the event were Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, state Democratic lawmakers Fentrice Driskell and Tracie Davis and Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried.

Florida Republicans weighed in after the speech, noting how Trump has led Biden in every public opinion survey taken in Florida over the past year.

“Joe Biden is losing in Florida, and he knows it,” said Republican National Committee spokesperson Rachel Lee. “Despite Biden and Harris’ best attempts to gaslight voters, they know exactly who is to blame for soaring costs, a spiraling border crisis, and staggering crime rates across the country.”

The Trump campaign blasted the Democrats as being the extreme party when it comes to the issue of abortion.

“President Trump has long been consistent in supporting the rights of states to make decisions on abortion,” said Karoline Leavitt, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary. “Joe Biden and the Democrats are radically out of touch with the majority of Americans in their support for abortion up until birth and even after birth ….”

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

About J. Williams

Check Also

President Joe Biden

Biden Administration To Roll Back The Betsy DeVos Title IX Rules

Ariana Figueroa, Pennsylvania Capital-Star The U.S. Department of Education on Friday announced a final rule …

Leave a Reply