June 14, 2024

Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a clear message Tuesday night to protect women’s rights while speaking to a  a packed room of pro-abortion rights elected leaders, officials and candidates from across the country, one day after a draft opinion leaked that suggested the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade in its power has protected a woman’s right, her right, to make decisions about her own body for nearly half a century,” the vice president said.  “If the court overturns Roe v. Wade, it will be a direct assault on freedom, on the fundamental right of self-determination to which we are all entitled as Americans.”

Her remarks were delivered to an energized crowd gathered at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington for the annual We are EMILY Gala. 700 people were expected to be in attendance. The event put on by EMILY’s List, an organization with a  mission  to elect pro-abortion rights candidates across the country. The gala was held by coincidence just one day after Politico released its bombshell report that a majority of Supreme Court justices appear ready to overturn Roe v. Wade. The opinion – if finalized – would end 50 years of precedent. 

Women in almost half the country could see their access to abortion severely limited, Harris said Tuesday night, if Roe v. Wade is overturned. In light of the draft opinion, Harris acknowledged the attendees in the room have been on the frontlines for the fight for many years but warned there was “nothing hypothetical about this moment.”

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Emily’s List National Conference and Gala, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Washington.

Patrick Semansky / AP

“Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women. Well we say, how dare they?” Harris told the cheering crowd. “How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body? How dare they? How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?” 

In the wake of the leaked draft opinion, Democrats have been raising alarms. Party officials believe the decision in Roe v. Wade and efforts by Republican lawmakers across the country to pass legislation restriction abortion will galvanize the base ahead of the 2022 midterms.

“It has never been more clear which party wants to expand our rights, and which party wants to restrict them,” Harris told the room, vowing Democrats are “not going back.” She concluded by calling on Democrats to “fight with everything we have got.”

Harris was among several Democratic leaders to rally the crowd Tuesday night. Stacey Abrams, who is running for Georgia governor, the event as well. She gave an impassioned speech that highlighted her childhood in Mississippi and having to evolve on the issue of abortion. 

Abrams blasted the leaked draft opinion, saying “the abomination of that weak opinion is coming to find every one of us, and we’ve got to be ready to fight back.”

She said while abortion is at the center of the opinion, it’s about civil rights and human rights. 

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