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Women's Rights under Attack in America, Warns VP Kamala Harris

Women's Rights under Attack in America, Warns VP Kamala Harris

In a fiery speech on Tuesday night, Vice President Kamala Harris blamed the Republicans for attacking women's rights. Harris drew sharp contrasts with the Republicans, saying they wanted to restrict women's freedom in the United States. The Vice President also called for Americans who support "self-determination" to stand with Democrats. Her robust defense comes in the wake of the news that the Supreme Court is poised to strike down Roe v. Wade. 

In her nine-minute address, Harris argued that a court decision to end the national right to abortion would open the door to the justices stripping away other rights, including same-sex marriage. "If the court overturns Roe v. Wade, it will be a direct assault on freedom, on the fundamental rights of self-determination to which all Americans are entitled," she said. 

"How dare Republicans tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body? How dare they? How dare they try to stop her from determining her future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?" 

Harris linked the causes of women who seek an abortion, gay couples who want to be married, and heterosexual couples who wish to use contraception, suggesting long-decided legal fights on all three issues could be re-opened. 

"Some Republican leaders want to take us back to a time before Roe v. Wade, to a time before Obergefell v. Hodges, back to a time before Griswold v. Connecticut," Harris said. She referred to the 2015 court decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide and the 1965 ruling that found couples enjoyed a right to privacy in their contraception choices. 

The Vice President declared, "We are not going back. We are not going back."  

Harris' speech represented the most forceful defense of abortion rights so far from President Joe Biden's administration since a leaked draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe was made public. The draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, was published by Politico, which reported that five justices – all appointed by Republican Presidents – had already voted to overturn the 1973 abortion ruling. 

 Meanwhile, the Supreme Court said that the draft decision was authentic but not final. 

Interestingly, Harris' Tuesday speech to Emily's List annual conference was scheduled long before the leak of the draft ruling. Emily's List works to elect women who support abortion rights. 

Nevertheless, the news raised the Vice President's attendance, making the speech a prospective watershed moment for Harris, the first woman and person of color to hold the office. As a candidate for President in 2020, she criticized other Democrats, including Biden, for not making abortion rights a more prominent issue. 

"It has never been clearer which party wants to expand our rights and which party wants to restrict them," she said. "It has never been clearer which party wants to lead us forward and which party wants to push us back." 

Democratic leaders have already sought to rally their voters around the threat that abortion will soon be outlawed in many states. Midterm elections in November, which will decide control of Congress, had so far pivoted on inflation, immigration, education, and the coronavirus pandemic, and Biden's party looked poised for defeat. 

Shifting the election topic to abortion and women's health may alter the political landscape, as polls have consistently shown that most Americans oppose overturning Roe. Senator Maggie Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat who Republicans are targeting for defeat in November, called the midterms "the most important election of our lifetimes" in her speech to Emily's List conference Tuesday. 

The overturning of Roe v. Wade would be a generational milestone in America, immediately ending constitutional protections for abortion rights and triggering new laws and restrictions, especially in conservative states. The ruling also would open the door to federal legislation curbing or eliminating access to abortion, which could curtail the procedure even in states where it remains broadly available. 

Harris said that in 13 states, "women would lose access to abortion immediate and outright" if the court goes through with overturning Roe. She Harris on allied Americans to "link arms in this fight." "If you stand for freedom, self-determination, and the right to privacy, if you stand for these principles, stand with us." 

"Let us fight for our country and the principles upon which it was founded, and let us fight with everything we have got," she said.

The Editorial Team

The Editorial Team

Hi there, we're the editorial team at WomELLE. We offer resources for business and career success, promote early education and development, and create a supportive environment for women. Our magazine, "WomLEAD," is here to help you thrive both professionally and personally.

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