Joe Biden's choice of Kamala Harris as his VP pick means that Harris could be the first female and first Black vice president—and that alone should inspire you to vote this November. The California senator, who was running in the Democratic presidential race before dropping out in December and being tapped by Biden as his VP, has long been vocal about many key issues, including abortion and women's reproductive health care.
Abortion has been a hot-button issue in this country for what feels like forever, and everyone has opinions on it—but you might be wondering where Harris stands on the subject. Let's dive in, shall we?
Harris wants to repeal the Hyde Amendment.
Along with numerous other Democrats, Harris has pushed to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal Medicaid funding for abortion services unless the person's continued pregnancy will put their life in danger or the baby is the product of rape or incest.
During a July 2019 debate, Harris challenged Biden on his record on the Hyde Amendment. The presidential nominee, known for backing the amendment, suddenly changed his mind in June.
"You made a decision for years to withhold resources to poor women to reproductive health care, including women who were the victims of rape and incest," said Harris to Biden. "Do you now say that you have evolved, and you regret that?"
The decades-old ban affects people with low incomes, people of color, young people, immigrants, and anyone else who relies on Medicaid for healthcare coverage. To put it into perspective, Medicaid provides coverage to 1 in 5 women between the ages of 15-44.
(You can go to allaboveall.org to learn how you can take action, btw.)
Major pro-choice organizations are backing Harris.
While in the U.S. Senate, Harris maintained a 100 percent rating from the reproductive rights group NARAL. According to NARAL's website, they highly rate "candidates who make women's health care, including abortion access, a priority."
Harris has also received support from Emily's List, an organization dedicated to getting pro-choice women elected to office. Its president, Stephanie Schriock, even made a statement when Harris' ended her campaign for president, saying:
"Kamala Harris is a fighter for the people, and she carried that grit throughout her presidential campaign. Her historic presence in the race—as one of the few women of color to run for president in history—brought a critical perspective and voice to conversations about America's future."
Harris co-sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act.
Harris has continued to be vocal about the Women's Health Protection Act, which is similar to the Voting Rights Act but geared towards abortion access. If the Act passed, states would have to get pre-clearance from the federal government before implementing more abortion-based restrictions in their states and counties.
In May 2019, Harris spoke about the act at town hall event, saying, "Are we going to go back to the days of back-alley abortions? Women died before we had Roe v. Wade in place. On this issue, I'm kind of done."
If passed, the act could stop legislation like the "fetal heartbeat" bill, which bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. (Tennessee lawmakers passed their version of this in June.) Sometimes, a heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy—before many people know they're pregnant.
Forty-three other senators currently co-sponsor the Women's Health Protection Act.