The Anthem

Washington, D.C.

7:06 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good evening.  Good evening, everyone.  Good evening.  (Applause.)  Please — thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.  Please have a seat.  Thank you.  Thank you, all. 

Can we please applaud Amanda for her extraordinary — (applause) — extraordinary courage. 

You know, we who are active in this phase of this movement probably remember: Amanda was one of the first women during this phase of this movement to speak publicly about her experience.  And the courage that she has shown continually — I’ve been with her in states across our country — as she helps people understand the reality of all of this. 

And I’ve met so many women like her who — in these months and in these couple of years, who really have been so selfless in telling such a personal story in a way that is fully intended to benefit people they may never meet. 

So, Amanda, thank you always for who you are.  (Applause.)  Thank you. 

I want to thank President Jessica Mackler.  Thank you for your leadership — (applause) — of this powerful organization. 

And to the board of directors of EMILY’s List, including my sister, Maya Harris.  (Applause.) 

And I will also acknowledge all the elected officials and members of Congress who are in the room tonight, including senator and former President of EMILY’s List, Laphonza Butler.  (Applause.) 

And thank you also to the members of our administration who are here. 

So, I also must congratulate tonight’s rising star, Michigan State Senator Sarah Anthony.  You will hear from her soon.  (Applause.)  Rising star, rockstar.

And, of course, the We Are EMILY honoree, an extraordinary American who has given herself in service in every way, and a dear friend, Senator Tammy Duckworth.  Congratulations.  (Applause.)

So, for almost four decades, EMILY’s List has helped elect leaders in the fight for reproductive freedom.  And today, because of EMILY’s List, we have more pro-choice women governors than at any time in history.  (Applause.)  We have more pro-choice women in the United States Congress than at any time in history.  (Applause.)  And, yes, with the support of EMILY’s List, I am proud to be the first woman elected Vice President of the United States.  (Applause.)

EMILY’s List was built for this moment.  EMILY’s List was built for this moment.  This fight for freedom — the fundamental freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body and not have her government telling her what to do.  (Applause.)

Two weeks [years] ago last week, the United States Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade, and that decision was leaked two — two years ago last week.  Most of us remember where we were when we heard the news about the leak that the highest court in our land — the court of Thurgood and RBG — was prepared to take a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America, from the women of America. 

Two years ago, I stood on the stage at this very gala and said what we were all feeling that evening, “How dare they.”  “How dare they.”  (Applause.)

And that evening, I also made a prediction: Overturning Roe would be the opening shot in a full-on assault, state by state, on reproductive freedom.  And that is exactly what has happened. 

Roe was indeed overturned, and in states across our nation, extremists have proposed and passed laws to criminalize doctors and to 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 and incest; even trying to revive laws from the 1800s. 

And understand, as Amanda said, who is to blame: Former President Donald Trump did this.  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 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 — and I’m going to quote myself — (laughter and applause) — “Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?”  And you probably remember, he had no good answer. 

And now, because of Donald Trump, more than 20 states have abortion bans — more than 20 Trump abortion bans. 

The most recent, in Florida, where another Trump abortion ban just went into effect — a ban so extreme it applies before many women even know they’re pregnant — which, by the way, tells us these extremists either don’t know how a woman’s body works or they just don’t care — or they just don’t care.  (Applause.)

Trump said he wants to leave abortion up to the states.  All right.  So, here’s how that works out.  Today, one in three women of reproductive age in America lives in a state with a Trump abortion ban, many with no exceptions for rape or incest. 

Now, as many of you know, I started my career as a prosecutor.  But what many of you may not know is why.  So, when I was in high school, I learned that one of my best friends was being molested by her stepfather.  And I said to her, “Well, you’ve got to come stay with us.” 

I called my mother; she was at work.  And my mother said, “Of course, she has to come stay with us.”  And 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 and ability to make a decision about what happens to their body next.  That’s immoral.  That’s immoral. 

And I know we all agree: One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree that the government should not be telling her what to do with her body.  (Applause.)

And let us understand the impact, then, of these bans — the horrific reality that women are facing in our country every single day.  Women like Amanda, whose lives and health have been put at risk after being denied medical care, women who as a result of these bans are losing access to basic healthcare in clinics across our country. 

You know, I am proud to be the first president or vice president in history to visit a reproductive health clinic.  (Applause.)  And we all know these clinics provide critical services: breast cancer screenings, contraceptive care, Paps. 

However, around our country, where there are Trump abortion bans, we are seeing these clinics being forced to close, denying millions of women access to essential medical care. 

And be clear, Donald Trump is the architect of this crisis.  And this — this is not a fact he even tries to hide.  In fact, he brags about it.  He has said the collection of abortion bans in the states is, quote, “working the way it’s supposed to.” 

And last week, he said in an interview, states have the right to monitor women to enforce these bans and the right to punish women — punish women for seeking out abortion care. 

So, EMILY’s List, the contrast in this election could not be more clear.  Donald Trump has said the government should decide whether women can access abortion care, whereas we say the government should never come between a woman and her doctor.  (Applause.)

And as much harm — as much harm as he has already caused, a second Trump term would be even worse.  His friends in the United States Congress are trying to pass a national abortion ban — a national ban that would — let’s be clear — outlaw abortion in every single state, even in states like New York and California. 

And now he wants us to believe he will not sign a national ban.  Well, enough with the gaslighting.  Enough with the gaslighting, because we all know if Donald Trump gets the chance, he will sign a national abortion ban. 

And how do we know?  “Well,” says the former courtroom trial lawyer, “let’s follow the facts.”  Congress tried to pass a national abortion ban in 2017.  Remember?  And the then-President Trump endorsed it and promised to sign it if it got to his desk.  And in an interview last week, he seemed perfectly fine with a national ban that would make IVF illegal across the country. 

Well, the great Maya Angelou once said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.”  (Applause.)

Donald Trump has told us who he is.  And here’s what a second Trump term would look like: more bans, more suffering, and less freedom.  But we are not going to let that happen — (applause) — because we — we trust women to know what is in their own best interest.  And, EMILY’s List, women trust all of us to fight to protect their most fundamental freedoms. 

For nearly 40 years, you have upheld a single mission to help elect pro-choice women.  And today I say to everyone here, as this EMILY’s List family, we need you now more than ever. 

This November, reproductive freedom is on the ballot.  And you, us — collectively and individually — have the power to protect those rights.  It is your power that will help us win a pro-choice majority in the United States House of Representatives.  (Applause.)  It is your power that will help us defend a pro-choice majority in the United States Senate.  (Applause.)  And 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 into law.  (Applause.)  Yes. 

So, just watch.  Donald Trump was the one who ended Roe v. Wade.  Joe Biden will be the president who restores it.  (Applause.) 

And so, EMILY’s List, with thanks for all your work, I say: Momentum is on our side.  Let us not be deterred.  Momentum is on our side. 

Since Roe was overturned, every time reproductive freedom has been on the ballot, the people of America have voted for freedom — (applause) — from Kansas to California to Kentucky, in Michigan, Montana, Vermont, and Ohio.  The people of America have voted for freedom and not by a little but by overwhelming majorities, proving also that this is not a partisan issue — proving this is not a partisan issue and proving that the voice of the people has been heard by overwhelming margins and that the voice of the people will be heard. 

So, today I ask: EMILY’s List, are you ready to have your voices heard?  (Applause.) 

Do we trust women?  (Applause.) 

Do we believe in reproductive freedoms?  (Applause.) 

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

And are we ready to fight for it?  (Applause.)

And when we fight, we win.  (Applause.) 

God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.  God bless you.  (Applause.)  

END                7:22 P.M. EDT

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