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Vice President Kamala Harris discusses abortion access with Indiana Democratic lawmakers

07252022_indiana abortion ban_vice president kamala harris_devan ridgway wtiu
Devan Ridgway / WTIU
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris advocated for reproductive rights Monday during a roundtable with Indiana state legislators.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris advocated for reproductive rights Monday during a roundtable with Indiana state legislators.

Her visit coincides with the beginning of a special session on abortion in Indiana, where House and Senate members will consider a near-total ban on abortion.

Harris said the proposed ban will take away essential rights from pregnant people.

“For the vast majority of women, by the time she realized that 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,” Harris said.

Abortion advocate groups have held rallies in Indiana since the overturn of Roe v. Wade to defend a pregnant person's right to choose.

Harris echoed those sentiments at the roundtable.

“An individual should be able to choose based on their personal beliefs and the dictates of their faith,” Harris 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.”

Other lawmakers in the roundtable agreed, including Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis.

“This is the beginning of a process that, if successful, will have deadly outcomes for pregnant women in the state of Indiana that has already has the third highest maternity maternal mortality rate in the country,” he said.

House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta, a Democrat from Fort Wayne, said the ban would negatively target specific groups.

“This proposed legislation from Senate Republicans is an all out ban on abortions with narrow exceptions, which will have drastic consequences for women, especially women of color and low-income women who are already disproportionately impacted by inadequate health care access and Indiana's horrific maternal mortality rates,” he said.

Lawmakers are in special session to consider bills that ban abortion, send financial support to families and provide inflation relief. They have until Aug. 14 to complete their work.

The Indiana Republican Party issued a statement ahead of Harris’ visit calling it a “political stunt” and a “low point” for Indiana Democrats.

Contact reporter Violet at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.

John is News Editor for LPM. Email John at jboyle@lpm.org.