Weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a landmark decision, the Biden Administration is still on the defense, working to combat the disruptive policies affecting birthing people all across the United States. During an appearance at the NAACP National Convention in New Jersey, Vice President Kamala Harris looked to one of the oldest organizations working to advance justice for African Americans and asked for its support.
“Every woman in America should be free to make decisions about their life, in terms of, in particular, the choices that they have and should be able to have about their reproductive health,” Harris said. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People agrees. Following the Supreme Court ruling last month, General counsel for the NAACP, Janette McCarthy Wallace said in a statement on behalf of the organization that the decision will disproportionately impact Black women.
“As a legal professional, I am horrified by this decision. As a Black woman, I am outraged to my core,” Wallace lamented. “The deciding Justices have ignored fundamental civil rights guaranteed by our Constitution and years of judicial precedent to advance a politically partisan agenda. There is no denying the fact that this is a direct attack on all women, and Black women stand to be disproportionately impacted by the court's egregious assault on basic human rights. We must all stand up to have our voices heard in order to protect our nation from the further degradation of civil rights protections we have worked so hard to secure."
A Duke study found that a full abortion ban could further increase Black maternal deaths by 33 percent, compared to a 21percent increase for the overall population. In addition, more Black women live in states that will likely ban abortion. Those who live in the South will be most affected.
The Vice President’s remarks at NAACP are part of an effort to highlight the Administration’s work across the country. In these unnerving times, reproductive rights are at the forefront of that work. Harris is adamant that in her opinion that the Dobbs decision stripped countless Americans of a constitutional right, creating a national healthcare crisis.
“What we are seeing around the country are extremist so-called leaders who are passing laws with the intention of criminalizing public health professionals, punishing women for making decisions that are intimate, private decisions that should be protected, in terms of the privacy and the autonomy with which women should be able to live and have the power over the most intimate issues that could affect their lives,” Harris said.
The Vice President has a long record of fighting for the health, safety, and wellbeing of women. And The White House is now leveraging that work in light of the Supreme Court’s antiquated views on women’s rights among other pressing issues. Harris plans to continue making the case for protecting reproductive health care access and the right to privacy. Since the end of June, the former U.S. Senator has spoken at several major convenings, including NALEO, NEA, and Essence Festival of Culture. In addition to the convening on Monday with 20 New Jersey state legislators and local leaders, the Vice President has also met with state legislators from across the country, including at the White House on July 8, Orlando, Florida a week later, and this past weekend in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.