The Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center
Jacksonville, Florida

2:27 P.M. EDT

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hi, everyone.  (Applause.)  Hello.  Hello.  Good afternoon, everyone.  Can we please give it up for Dr. Tien?  Where is she?  (Applause.)

     I had the chance to spend some time with her this afternoon, and I thanked her for her courage and for the work that she and her colleagues are doing at this critical time in our country in the midst of this critical healthcare crisis.  She has been an extraordinary leader.  So, thank you, Dr. Tien, for all that you are.  (Applause.)

     And thank you to all the leaders who are with us today — (applause) — Leader Driskell, Leader Davis, Mayor Deegan — (applause) — and Democratic State Party Chair Nikki Fried.  (Applause.)  And a special thank you to all the organizers and advocates and elected leaders who have been on the forefront of this fight for so long.

     So, listen, I think we all know this is a fight for freedom.  This is a fight for freedom — the fundamental freedom to make decisions about one’s own body and not have their government tell them what they’re supposed to do.  (Applause.)

     And as we know, almost two years ago, the highest court in our land — the court of Thurgood and RBG — took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America, from the women of America.  And now, in states across our nation, extremists have proposed and passed laws that criminalize doctors, punish women; laws that threaten doctors and nurses with prison time, even for life, simply for providing reproductive care; laws that make no exception for rape or incest, even reviving laws from the 1800s.

     AUDIENCE:  Booo —

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Across our nation, we witnessed a full-on assault state by state on reproductive freedom. 

     And understand who is to blame.  Former President Donald Trump did this.  (Applause.)

     AUDIENCE:  Booo —

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Donald Trump handpicked three members of the United States Supreme Court because he intended for them to overturn Roe.  And as he intended, they did. 
Now, many of you here may recall I served on the Judiciary Committee as a United States senator, and I questioned two of those nominees.  To one of them I asked, quote — I will quote myself — (laughter) — “Can you think of any law that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?”  (Applause.)  And it will come as no shock to everyone here, he had no good answer.  And that day, we all knew what was about to come, and it happened just as Donald Trump intended. 
Now, present day, because of Donald Trump, more than 20 states have abortion bans, more than 20 Trump abortion bans.  And today, this very day, at the stroke of midnight, another Trump abortion ban went into effect here in Florida.  As of this morning, 4 million women in this state woke up with fewer reproductive freedoms than they had last night.  This is the new reality under a Trump abortion ban. 
Starting this morning, medical professionals like Dr. Tien could be sent to prison for up to five years for providing reproductive care even earlier in pregnancy — reality under a Trump abortion ban. 
Starting this morning, women in Florida became subject to an abortion ban so extreme it applies before many women even know they are pregnant — which, by the way, tells us the extremists who wrote this ban either don’t know how a woman’s body works or they simply don’t care. 
Trump says he wants to leave abortion up to the states.  He says “up to the states.” 
All right.  So, here’s how that works out.  Today, one in three women of reproductive age live in a state with a Trump abortion ban, many with no exception for rape or incest. 
Now, on that topic, as many of you know, I started my career as a prosecutor specializing in crimes against women and children.  What many of you may not know is why. 
So, when I was in high school, I learned that my best friend was being molested by her stepfather.  And I said to her, “Well, you’ve got to come and live with us.”  I called my mother, and my mother said, “Of course, she does.”  And so, she did.
     So, the idea that someone who survives a crime of violence to their body, a violation of their body would not have the authority to make a decision about what happens to their body next, that’s immoral.  That’s immoral. 
     And one does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do.  (Applause.)
     And let us understand — let us understand the impact of these bans, the horrific reality that women face every single day.  Folks, since Roe was overturned, I have met women who were refused care during a miscarriage.  I met a woman who was turned away from an emergency room, and it was only when she developed sepsis that she received care. 
     Now, I’m proud to be the first president or vice president in history to visit a reproductive health clinic.  (Applause.)  But around our country, since that decision came down, clinics have been forced to close.  Think about it: Clinics that provide breast cancer screenings, contraceptive care, Paps, lifesaving care. 
     And I have seen firsthand, then, that this truly is a healthcare crisis.  And Donald Trump is the architect. 
     And, by the way, that is not a fact he hides.  In fact, he brags about it.  He has said the collection of abortion bans in the state is, quote, “working the way it’s supposed to.”  Just this week, in an interview, he said states have the right to monitor pregnant women to enforce these bans and states have the right to punish pregnant women for seeking out abortion care.
     So, Florida, the contrast in this election could not be more clear.  Basically, under Donald Trump, it would be fair game for women to be monitored and punished by the government, whereas Joe Biden and I have a different view.  (Applause.)
We believe the government should never come between a woman and her doctor.  (Applause.)  Never.
And as much harm as he has already caused, a second Trump term would be even worse.  Donald Trump’s friends in the United States Congress are trying to pass a national ban.  And understand: A national ban would outlaw abortion in every single state, even in states like New York and California. 
And now Trump wants us to believe he will not sign a national ban.  Well, I say, enough with the gla- — gaslighting.  Enough with the gaslighting.  (Applause.)  Because we all know if Donald Trump gets the chance, he will sign a national abortion ban. 
And how do we know?  Well, let’s take a look at the evidence and follow the facts.  Maybe as a former prosecutor, I like to say: We should really look at the evidence and follow the facts. 
Okay.  Congress tried to pass a national abortion ban in 2017.  And the then-President, Trump, endorsed it — 2017 — and promised to sign it if it got to his desk. 
And in that same interview he gave this week, he seemed perfectly fine signing a national ban that would make it illegal to receive IVF treatment. 
Well, the great Maya Angelou once said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.”  (Applause.)  And Donald Trump has told us who he is. 
So, here’s what a second Trump term looks like: more bans, more suffering, less freedom.  But we are not going to let that happen.  (Applause.) 
Because, you see, we trust women.  We trust women to know what is in their own best interests.  (Applause.)  And women trust all of us to fight to protect their most fundamental freedoms.  (Applause.)
     And this November, up and down the ballot, reproductive freedom is on the ballot.  And you, the leaders — you, the people, have the power to protect it with your vote. 

     Donald Trump may think he can take Florida for granted.  It is your power that will send Joe Biden and me back to the White House.  (Applause.)

     And when Congress passes a law that restores the reproductive freedoms of Roe, our President, Joe Biden, will sign it.  (Applause.)  Donald Trump was the president who took away the protections of Roe.  Joe Biden will be the president who puts the protections of Roe back in place.  (Applause.)

     And it’s going to take all of us to get there.  And, by the way, momentum — momentum is on our side.  Just think about it.  Since Roe was overturned, every time reproductive freedom has been on the ballot, the people of America voted for freedom.  (Applause.)

     From Kansas to California to Kentucky, in Michigan, Montana, Vermont, and Ohio, the people of America voted for freedom — and not by little but often by overwhelming margins, proving also that this is not a partisan issue — it’s not a partisan issue — and proving that the voice of the people has been heard and will be heard.  (Applause.)

     So, today, I ask: Florida, are you ready to make your voices heard?  (Applause.)

     Do we trust women?  (Applause.)  

     Do we believe in reproductive freedom?  (Applause.)

     Do we believe in the promise of America? (Applause.)

     Are we ready to fight for it?  (Applause.) 

     And when we fight, we win. 

     God bless you and God bless the United States of America.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)  

END                 2:41 P.M. EDT

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