The Moon
Tallahassee, Florida

12:21 P.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, where are you?  There she is.  She just left the stage — (laughs) — but is always on the stage.
 AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And we love all of our frontline folks.  And this room is filled with them.  (Applause.)  Filled with them.
Good afternoon, everyone.  It is good to be back in Florida.  (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible) Tallahassee.
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And Tallahassee in the house.  (Applause.)
So, before we — before we talk about the subject for which we are all convened, I do want to address the tragedy of what happened in my state, in Monterey Park, California.  A time of a cultural celebration, and yet another community has been torn apart by senseless gun violence.
So Doug and I join the President and Dr. Biden and I know everyone here in mourning for those who were killed, as we pray for those who were injured, and as we grieve for those many people whose lives are forever changed.
All of us in this room and in our country understand this violence must stop.
And President Biden and I and our administration will continue to provide full support to the local authorities as we learn more.
And with that, I want to address another topic, which is the reason that we all join together today.  I am honored to be with members of United States Congress who are here, state and local elected officials — (applause) —
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you for coming!
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  I’m glad to be with you.  (Applause.)
And all of the coalition partners who are represented here.  (Applause.)  Let’s give it up for everyone.  (Applause.)
So we are here together because we collectively believe and know America is a promise.  America is a promise.  It is a promise of freedom and liberty — not for some, but for all.  (Applause.)
A promise we made in the Declaration of Independence that we are each endowed with the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  (Applause.)
Be clear.  These rights were not bestowed upon us.  They belong to us as Americans.  (Applause.)
And it is that freedom and liberty that enabled generations of Americans to chart their own course and decide their own future with, yes, ambition and aspiration.  Therein lies the strength of our nation. 
And since our founding, we have then been on a march forward to fully realize our promise to complete the unfinished work to secure freedom and liberty for all.  (Applause.)
Now, these outcomes will not be inevitable.  They will not just happen.  It takes steadfast determination and dedication.  The kind of determination and dedication possessed by some of our greatest patriots: those Americans who fought a Civil War to end the sin of slavery — (applause) — who organized at Seneca Falls to secure a woman’s right to vote — (applause) — who launched the Freedom Rides to advance civil rights — (applause) — and spoke out at the Stonewall Inn to defend human rights.  (Applause.)
In each of these movements, those leaders expanded rights which then advanced the cause of freedom and liberty.
And 50 years ago today, so did those who won a fight in the United States Supreme Court to recognize the fundamental constitutional right of a woman to make decisions about her own body — (applause) — not the government.  (Applause.)

For nearly 50 years, Americans relied on the rights that Roe protected.  Today, however, on what would have been its 50th anniversary, we speak of the Roe decision in the past tense —
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — because, last June, the United States Supreme Court took away that constitutional right — a fundamental right, a basic freedom — from the people of America —
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — from the women of America.
The Court’s action has meant already that many dedicated doctors and nurses now lose their ability to care for their patients, that providers risk going to jail just for doing their job, and that patients are denied critical care and even fear that they will be punished simply for seeking care.
It has meant that a 10-year-old child in Ohio who was sexually assaulted and became pregnant had to leave her home — had to leave her home state and travel to another to receive care.  It has meant that the doctor who treated her faced death threats and efforts to take away her medical license.
And for Amanda, a 35-year-old woman in Texas, it meant, in the midst of a miscarriage, she was denied treatment three times in three days at an emergency room because of that state’s abortion ban.  And only after she developed sepsis, an infection that almost killed her, did the hospital finally admit her.
Thank God Amanda survived.  And she, with her husband, Josh, is here today.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank them both for having the courage to tell their story in a way that will inspire so many individuals and their families to know they are not alone. 
The consequences of the Supreme Court’s ruling are not only limited to those who need reproductive care.  Other basic healthcare is at risk. 
Consider Emma, a 14-year-old who lives in Arizona.  So Emma manages her chronic arthritis with medication that allows her to go to school and live without constant pain.  But the medication that helps her can also cause pregnancy loss.  So within weeks of the Dobbs decision, her pharmacy initially refused to fill her prescription, afraid that they could be prosecuted under the state’s radical law.
All of these devastating experiences — the direct result of laws designed by extremists, including in states like Florida.  (Applause.)
Last year, so-called leaders at the state House here in Tallahassee —
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — passed a radical abortion ban with no exceptions even for the survivors of crimes like rape and child molestation and human trafficking.
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Here in Florida, healthcare providers face prison — prison for up to five years for simply doing their job. 
And now the state has also targeted medication abortion and even threatened Florida pharmacists with criminal charges if they provide medications prescribed by medical professionals.
And Florida is not alone.  Twenty-two states have announced they will not follow new federal rules that allow women to get medication prescribed by their doctor from a certified pharmacy.  Imagine.
So, today, we are fighting back.  (Applause.)
I’m pleased to announce that President Biden — I’m announcing it today — has issued a presidential memorandum on this issue.
Members of our Cabinet and our administration are now directed, as of the President’s order, to identify barriers to access to prescription medication and to recommend actions to make sure that doctors can legally prescribe, that pharmacies can dispense, and that women can secure safe and effective medication.  (Applause.)
So President Biden has done that.
At the same time that we work to protect this aspect of reproductive care, many states have gone even further and now have total bans in effect.
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Alabama, Missouri, and South Dakota, just to name a few.
And as — as clinics close in those states — understand, as clinics are closing in those states, patients have lost access to other basic care such as routine check-ups, cancer screenings, and contraception.
And to everyone listening, be sure, no one is immune from these impacts, even in states that protect reproductive rights like New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon.  Even then, people live in fear of what might be next because Republicans in Congress are now calling for a nationwide abortion ban.
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Some even from the moment of conception. 
The right of every woman in every state in this country to make decisions about her own body is on the line.  And I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: How dare they?  (Applause.)  How dare they?
And, you know, there is a collection of words — there is a collection of words that mean everything to us as Americans: the heartfelt words of our great National Anthem.  That America is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
But let us ask, can we truly be free if a woman cannot make decisions about her own body?
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Can we truly be free if a doctor cannot care for her patients?
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Can we truly be free if families cannot make intimate decisions about the course of their own lives?
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And can we truly be free if so-called leaders claim to be, quote — I quote, “on the vanguard of freedom,” while they dare to restrict the rights of the American people and attack the very foundations of freedom?  (Applause.)
Understand clearly, the majority of Americans — the majority of Americans oppose these attacks.
Americans of every background, in every community have voiced their perspective: from Kansas to California, Michigan, Montana, Kentucky, and Vermont.  They spoke with their vote.
In essence, they said, one does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree that the government should not be telling people what to do with their own bodies.  (Applause.)
So know this: President Biden and I agree, and we will never back down.  We will not back down.  (Applause.)  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.  (Applause.)  A bill that protects reproductive rights.  And President Biden will sign it.  (Applause.)
So, yes, America is a promise.  A promise we must all make real in every state and every community, in every statehouse, in every doctor’s office, and, yes, in every election.
So to all the friends and leaders, I say: Let us not be tired or discouraged, because we’re on the right side of history.  (Applause.)
So we will continue to stand together in the fight to protect the freedom and liberty of all people, of all women everywhere.
And here and now, on this 50th anniversary, let us resolve to make history and secure this right.  (Applause.)
Today, I invite all Americans to join us, and to remember: When we fight, we win.  (Applause.)
Thank you all.  May God bless you.  And may God bless America.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)
                        END                12:39 P.M. EST

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