Remarks by Vice President Harris in Roundtable Discussion with Indiana State Legislators on Reproductive Rights
By: Office of the Vice President
11:57 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, Representative GiaQuinta. You — the Representative came to visit with me in Washington, D.C., to talk about all of you and the people of this beautiful state. And it was from that conversation that he also made an invitation for me to come and visit with you.
And so I’m here today to thank you, because the people at this table are not only local and state leaders, you are national leaders on the front lines of one of — one of the most critical issues facing our country.
I want to thank Representative Carson for joining me and flying in with me today, and for your leadership in Washington, D.C., representing the people of the state of Indiana.
As has been said, the United States Supreme Court in the Dobbs decision took a constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America, the women of America. Let’s contemplate what that means, in and of itself, that in a land that was founded on the important principles of freedom and liberty, that such a thing would happen and not without grave consequence.
So that is the context in which we meet and fight. This has created a healthcare crisis in America. And as has been said, Indiana has already been on the forefront of this very issue, as Representative Pryor described one of the more publicized and well-known cases, in terms of what this issue means to real people, including children.
And I will tell you, around our country, we are seeing indeed many states since the Dobbs decision, and attempting even before, to criminalize health professionals, to punish women — states that are creating no exception for rape or incest.
And I am a former prosecutor. I specialized in crimes against women and children. I specialized in — in child sexual assault cases. The idea that, in some states, after a child or a woman or a man — but in particular, on this case of abortion, a woman or a child — would have endured such an act of violence, and then to suggest that she would not have the autonomy and authority to make a decision about what happens to her body is outrageous.
So these are the parameters of this issue, and, of course, there are more.
I would also say that on this issue, one does not have to abandon your faith or your beliefs to agree that the government should not be making this decision for her. An individual should be able to choose based on their personal beliefs and the dictates of their faith. But the government should not be telling an individual what to do, especially as it relates to one of the most intimate and personal decisions a woman could make.
Here in Indiana, I am here to support these extraordinary and courageous leaders and, in particular, on this day where Indiana is the first state since the Dobbs decision to convene a special session to propose a law that includes, based on what is being proposed, what essentially will be a ban on abortion for women.
Because, do be clear — and maybe some people need to actually learn how a woman’s body works. But when you understand how a woman’s body works, you will understand that the parameters that are being proposed mean that for the vast majority of women, by the time she realizes she is pregnant, she will effectively be prohibited from having access to reproductive healthcare that would allow her to choose what happens to her body.
So, these are the realities. The President has signed an executive order to protect women’s access to abortion medication and has taken action to protect the constitutional right to interstate travel. And we will do everything in our power to follow through on those commitments.
But what we know is that this issue of access to reproductive care and a woman’s right to make decisions about her body relate to other risks that have been posed by the Dobbs decision. We are looking at an interpretation of the Constitution that suggests — Clarence Thomas said the quiet part out loud — that this puts at risk an individual’s right to make decisions about contraception, puts at risk the right to marry the person you love.
So when we discuss this issue and when we contemplate what it means, understand that it could have a profound impact on just about everyone in our country who has any association or interest or concern about these various issues.
So, for all of those reasons, what these leaders at this table are doing right now to stand in defense of the women of this state is, by extension, to stand for the rights of women throughout our country.
The President and I take seriously our work that is about protecting the health, the safety, and the wellbeing of the women of America, and that includes the women of Indiana.
And that is why I’m here. And I look forward to our conversation, and I thank you all again for your leadership.
END 12:05 P.M. EDT