Today, July 14, 2022, Vice President Kamala Harris convened Florida state legislators who are fighting on the frontlines to protect reproductive rights. The Vice President was joined by Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra for the meeting which took place in Orlando, Florida. Today’s convening follows engagements about reproductive rights that the Vice President held with health care providers, faith leaders, constitutional law and privacy experts, advocates, State Attorneys General, and other state legislators from across the country.
During the meeting, the Vice President conveyed the Administration’s commitment to protecting access to reproductive health care, including abortion access, and she encouraged the legislators to continue fighting to protect reproductive rights in Florida. She emphasized that the government should not interfere with the right of every American to make the most intimate decisions about “heart and home” – including reproductive health care access. The Vice President reiterated the Administration’s commitment to partnering with elected leaders at the local, state, and federal level to protect reproductive health care. The Vice President discussed actions the Administration is taking to defend health care access, and she applauded the state legislators for their work defending abortion access in Florida.
The state legislative leaders shared what is happening in Florida as extremist legislators are fighting to further limit reproductive health care access. Florida currently has a 15 week ban on abortion, with no exception for rape or incest. The law was signed into law by Governor DeSantis in April and went into effect on July 1, 2022. Participants shared stories of patients who have experienced the harmful impact of Florida’s abortion restrictions, noting that every person deserves access to comprehensive health care. The legislators conveyed how the impact of abortion bans across other southern states is overwhelming the health systems in Florida. They also discussed how in states like Florida, the extremist legislators who are attacking reproductive rights are also restricting LGBTQI+ rights and voting rights. The Vice President recognized the importance of building coalitions to defend rights and freedoms. The Vice President and the state leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together to protect reproductive rights for all women across the state of Florida and our nation.
In attendance were the following:
- HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra
- Doctor Robyn Schickler, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida
- Leader Lauren Book
- Leader Designate Fentrice Driskell
- Representative Anna Eskamani
- Senator Victor Torres Jr.
- Representative Kristen Arrington
- Representative Kamia Brown
- Representative Jervonte Edmonds
- Representative Christine Hunschofsky
- Representative Andrew Learned
- Senator Rosalind Osgood
- Representative Yvonne Hinson
- Representative Geraldine Thompson