Vice President Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris Calls Mass. a ‘Model' for Protecting Reproductive Rights

Kamala Harris is visiting Massachusetts to hold a roundtable with Massachusetts legislators and local leaders on reproductive rights

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Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted Massachusetts as a leader in the national fight to protect abortion rights during a round table discussion in Boston Thursday as part of a visit to the Bay State.

During the Vice President's meeting, Harris and several other leaders including Gov. Charlie Bake, U.S. Department of Defense Undersecretary Gil Cisneros and Representative Ayanna Pressley, discussed the significance of a woman's right to make decisions about her reproductive health after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

"We are here today because we share a fundamental belief that we trust the women of America to make decisions about what is in their best interest," Harris said Thursday. "And we believe it is they who should make that decision and not their government. It is that simple."

With the federal right to abortion no longer in place, Harris talked about how the Biden Administration is pushing to protect abortion access and commended local leaders for their work to protect that right in Massachusetts.

"To all the leaders here… you are also national leaders," Harris said. "You are leading by example, the work that is happening here in Massachusetts is a model for what can and what we believe should be happening around the country.”

Massachusetts put a new law on the books to protect providers of reproductive health, including abortions, and gender-affirming care in a post-Roe v. Wade world after Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill last week. The legislation creates new legal shields for reproductive health providers, who could face lawsuits originating in other states where Republican-led legislatures are cracking down on access to abortions.

The bill reinforces Massachusetts law that protects abortion rights in the state.

"This issue about reproductive rights has not been a partisan issue. My mother made clear to me what my position was going to be on this issue when I was very young," Baker said Thursday. "I believe the vast majority of the people of America, and certainly the vast majority of the people in Massachusetts, believe that women should have the right to make the call with their families, their pastors, whomever it is they seek guidance and advice from when it comes to this issue."

The new law also requires insurers to cover abortions without shifting costs to patients, orders the Department of Public Health to issue a standing order allowing any licensed pharmacist in Massachusetts to dispense emergency contraceptives, and clarifies state laws governing late-term abortions in an effort to ensure that procedure is accessible in Massachusetts.

Harris, a former prosecutor who specialized in child sexual assault cases and violence against women, said it is "outrageous," that a victim of violence is subjected to the government's will, "without investing in her the self determination to which she is entitled to make decisions based on what she believes is in her best interest."

The attacks on a woman's right to make decisions about her reproductive health care overlaps with other rights, including for the LGBTQ community, members of the panel noted.

"Our bodily autonomy -- it should not be up for debate, but devastatingly it is. And we know who will be impacted the most -- the most marginalized, black and brown folks, LGBTQ, the disability community," Pressley said. "I'm proud that every level of government here in the Commonwealth has moved with urgency to codify and to protect abortion care in Massachusetts."

Massachusetts is the seventh state Harris has traveled to in recent weeks to discuss this topic. As part of her trip to the Bay State Thursday, Harris was scheduled to make stops in Boston and on Martha's Vineyard. On the Vineyard, the Vice President will speak at a finance event.

Here's the VP's itinerary for her trip to the Commonwealth:

  • 9:25 a.m. — Vice President Harris will leave Washington D.C., heading to Boston.
  • 10:45 a.m.—The VP will receive the President's Daily Briefing.
  • 12:50 p.m.—Harris will hold the roundtable on reproductive rights in Boston at IBEW Local 103.
  • 2:35 p.m.— Vice President Harris will leave Boston from Logan International Airport and head to Martha's Vineyard. She'll fly into Martha's Vineyard Airport.
  • 6:15 p.m. — VP Harris will speak at a Democratic National Committee finance event. Her opening remarks will be at a private home in Vineyard Haven.
  • 7:30 p.m. — The Vice President will depart from Martha's Vineyard Airport, and head back to Joint Base Andrews, just outside Washington D.C.
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