United States Vice President Kamala Harris met with faith leaders to talk about reproductive health issues, affirming the role of faith leaders to unite the people of the country to support abortion last Monday in Los Angeles, California.
Harris had talked about many issues in her speech, particularly the possible overthrowing of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 law that allows abortion. She said, "We believe it will undo the very principles and premise of the importance of privacy, the right that Roe v. Wade stands for."
Pastor Demetries Edwards of the 23rd Avenue Church of God in Oakland, Rabbi Dara Frimmer of Temple Isaiah of Los Angeles, Sikh civil rights advocate and lawyer Nitasha Kaur Sawhney, National Council of Jewish Women of Sacramento's board of directors vice president Claire Lipschultz, Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity executive director Rev. Young Lee Hertig, and others were among the religious leaders who attended the roundtable.
California Democratic officials, including U.S. Rep. Senator Alex Padilla, Congressman Jimmy Gomez, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were also in attendance.
Women's Right To Make Choices
The vice president reiterated women's rights to choose because it's their bodies, explaining that was the "premise and power of Roe." She added that women must have the right and unconstrained access to reproductive healthcare. Harris imposed that for them, it was an issue of "self-determination," explaining that they value individuals making decisions about their lives and handling future consequences of their prior choices.
According to her, when the decision comes down, some parts of the reproductive health laws would impact other privacy rights, "including the right to have access to contraception and the right to marry the person you love." Then she asked the faith leaders how are they going to speak and encourage those impacted people with their rights if the possible overthrowing of Roe will happen. "How do we uplift them in a way that they do not feel alone and without options?" she posed.
Urging Faith Leaders To Stand With Them
Then she urged the different church leaders to agree with and support Roe v. Wade, saying that standing for it "does not mean giving up core beliefs." Harris said it was simply granting women to make decisions with her faith leader, her family, and her physician, noting that the government should not have any control over those decisions.
She mentioned also the bill that the state of Louisiana passed last week, increasing the criminal consequences for abortion providers with no exception for rape or incest. Harris said, "the threat to all of these principles and priorities is very clear and imminent"
She concluded her address by expressing her eagerness for a discussion that would result in the formation of a coalition based on these shared ideals and beliefs.
Pro-Life Advocates Slam Harris
Pro-Life Advocacy Organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America turned to Twitter to comment on Harris's speech. They wrote, "Harris somehow managed to avoid saying either 'God' or 'abortion' even once" during her opening remarks."
Andrew Brennan, faith communications director of the Republican National Committee, issued a statement saying that the Biden administration should focus more on helping the people with the rising prices of commodities. He also added research-based information that tells 80% of Americans approved prohibiting abortion in the third trimester and only 16% favored abortion being accessible at any time for any reason. He also added that America was one of the seven countries that allowed elective abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, lining up with China and North Korea.
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