INDIANAPOLIS — Vice President Kamala Harris met with Indiana’s Democratic lawmakers Monday morning for a roundtable discussion.
Vice President Harris spent nearly 8 minutes giving remarks on abortion access. The comments came ahead of the state’s special legislative session, where abortion, as well as inflation, are set to be discussed.
In regards to abortion, lawmakers will discuss a proposal from Senate Republicans, which includes banning all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or “permanent substantial impairment” to the mother’s health.
Harris started off her remarks by weighing in on the Dobbs decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, calling it the cause of a health care crisis in America.
“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,” she said. “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.”
The vice president continued her remarks by expressing concern for other states and their plans for abortion restrictions.
“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,” she said.
“I am a former prosecutor. I specialized in crimes against women and children. I specialized in child sexual assault cases,” Harris added. “The idea that in some states, after a child, 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.”
Harris described the above concerns as some of the parameters of the issue at hand, and that there are more, including the government’s involvement in what she said should be an individual choice.
“An individual should be able to choose based on their personal beliefs and the dictates of their faith,” she said, “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.”
Vice President Harris extended her support for lawmakers in the room during Monday’s roundtable.
“Here in Indiana, I am here to support these extraordinary and courageous leaders,” she said, “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,” she said.
“Do be clear, and maybe some people need to actually learn how a woman’s body works,” Harris added, “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 health care that would allow her to choose what happens to her body.”
Nearing the end of her remarks, the vice president touched on what the administration is doing to protect abortion access. Harris mentioned President Biden’s signing of an executive order, which protects women’s access to abortion medication and action taken to protect the constitutional right to interstate travel.
“We will do everything in our power to follow through on those commitments,” said Harris.
Harris ended her comments discussing the impact of the Dobbs decision, other risks it could pose in the future and a vow to fight for women.
“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,” Harris said. “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,” she said. “The president and I take seriously our work that is about protecting the health, the safety and the well-being of the women of America and that includes the women of Indiana.”
FOX59 reached out to Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray for comment on Vice President Harris’ visit and remarks, but have not heard back.