Omni Shoreham Hotel
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good evening! (Applause.) Good evening. Please, have a seat. Good evening.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good evening!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good evening. I want to thank Ms. Laphonza Butler, who — I’ve known her for many, many years, she and I being in different positions when we first got to know each other, working together. And I will say that we are very fortunate that we have a leader in Laphonza Butler at a moment like this in the history of our country. (Applause.) Thank you, Laphonza.
I also want to recognize another very special person who is in the room: the first Second Gentleman of the United States, Doug Emhoff. (Laughs.) (Applause.)
So, if there was ever any doubt about why EMILY’s List is important, last night makes the point. Women’s rights in America are under attack.
Roe v. Wade has protected a woman’s right — (interruption by sound effect played) — (laughter) — yeah, it’s powerful. (Laughter and applause.)
Roe v. Wade, in its power, has protected a woman’s right — her right to make decisions about her own body for nearly half a century.
If the Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it will be a direct assault on freedom, on the fundamental right of self-determination to which all Americans are entitled.
Roe protects the right to access abortion. It also protects a woman’s right to make decisions about what she does with her own body. (Applause.)
So, to the friends, I say: We’ve always been clear, but today we know our purpose. We know also what we are up against. We have been on the frontlines of this fight for many years, all of us in this together. And now we enter a new phase. There is nothing hypothetical about this moment.
Let me be clear: This fight requires the work of this very organization, EMILY’s List, to elect — (applause) — pro-choice Democrats to Congress. (Applause.)
Now, at this very moment, Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land. But let’s talk about what a world without Roe looks like.
Women in almost half the country could see their access to abortion severely limited. In 13 of those states, women would lose access to abortion immediately and outright.
Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women — well, we say, “How dare they!” How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body. (Applause.) How dare they! How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future! How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms.
You know, three years ago, when I was a United States senator, I asked a question: “Can you think of any laws” — (laughter) — “that give the government power to make decisions about the male body?”
And the response, you’ll recall, was essentially: “Can’t think of any.” (Laughter.)
So, when we look at the big picture, those who attack Roe have been clear. They want to ban abortion in every state. They want to bully anyone who seeks or provides reproductive healthcare. And they want to criminalize and punish women for making these decisions.
At its core, Roe recognizes the fundamental right to privacy. Think about that for a moment. When the right to privacy is attacked, anyone in our country may face a future where the government can interfere with their personal decisions — not just women; anyone.
And it has never been more clear which party wants to expand our rights and which party wants to restrict them. It has never been more clear. (Applause.)
It has never been more clear which party wants to lead us forward and which party wants to push us back. You know, some Republican leaders — they want to take us back to a time before Roe v. Wade, back to a time before Obergefell v. Hodges, back to a time before Griswold v. Connecticut.
But we’re not going back. We are not going back. (Applause.) Because at our core, the strength of our country is that we fight to move forward.
You know, I’ve spent my entire career fighting for the health, safety, and wellbeing of women with so many of you in this room. And now, once again, friends, we must link arms in this fight.
I invite all people to join us. If you stand for freedom, for self-determination, for the right to privacy — if you stand for these principles, stand with us. (Applause.)
Because, you see, women’s issues are America’s issues. And democracies — democracies cannot be strong if the rights of women are under attack. (Applause.)
So, to all here, I say: Let us fight for our country and for the principles upon which it was founded. And let us fight with everything we have got.
God bless you. And God bless America.