January 22, 2023 would have marked 50 years since the Supreme Court‘s Roe v. Wade decision, which made reproductive rights constitutionally protected.
However, last year’s unprecedented Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturning Roe interrupted the milestone.
In honor of Sunday’s would-be anniversary, Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks in Tallahassee, Florida– the state’s capital– a major battleground where extreme laws limiting abortions have taken shape.
Here are key highlights of her speech.
There are already dire consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade, including states’ lack of a rape exception.
VP Harris noted some high-profile, disastrous effect of a post-Roe world, including the Ohio girl who was raped and had to travel out of state for an abortion, while her practitioner received death threats.
In another case, a 14-year-old was initially denied a prescription refill for medicine that helps her cope with chronic arthritis because a symptom can be pregnancy loss.
WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES – JANUARY 22 : Pro-abortion and anti-abortion activists rally near the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, USA, 22 January 2023. Womenâs marches demanding abortion rights drew thousands of people across the country on Sunday, the 50th anniversary of the now-overturned Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established federal protections for the procedure. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Florida healthcare providers, and those in other states, can face prison time.
Florida’s law can give abortion providers up to five years of prison, making practitioners on edge about healthcare services that aren’t even abortion related.
TALLAHASSEE, USA – JANUARY 22: Police take measures at the 50th commemoration of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in Tallahassee FL, United States on January 22, 2023. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
22 states said they won’t follow federal rules that allow women to get prescribed medication
Attorney Generals from 22 states said they would enforce state law and ignore federal rules to limit access to the mifepristone, the abortion pill that also manages early miscarriage. In Florida, Governor DeSantis said major pharmacies would no carry it.
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 18: Director of the Christian Defense Coalition Rev. Patrick Mahoney speaks as a small group of anti-abortion activists rally against the availability of abortion pills at neighborhood pharmacies outside of a CVS Pharmacy on January 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a regulatory change that now allows retail pharmacies to offer abortion pills to people who have a prescription. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
In response, the White House is identifying barriers to access for women to securing medical abortions
In a memo released Sunday, the White House described the current post-Dobbs landscape and ways to expand abortion access.
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 22: People protest in front of the White House during the annual National Women’s March on January 22, 2023 in Washington, DC. The march, also called “Bigger than Roe,” was held to mark the 50-year anniversary since the ruling on Roe v. Wade, and to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health case, which takes back federal protections for access abortions. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
VP Harris called on Congress to pass a law to protect reproductive rights and said President Biden would sign it
“President Biden and I agree, and we will never back down,” Harris said to applause. “We will not back down. “And we know — we know this fight will not be won until we secure this right for every American. Congress must pass a bill that protects freedom and liberty. A bill that protects reproductive rights. And President Biden will sign it.”
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in Tallahassee, Florida, US, on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Harris delivered remarks in the likely 2024 battleground state of Florida on the 50th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion across the US, stating that President Joe Biden is issuing a memorandum aimed at protecting access to mifepristone, a drug used in medication abortion. Photographer: Tori Lynn Schneider/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images