On the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, Vice President Kamala Harris will speak in Tallahassee to mark the handing down of the controversial decision. As Roe was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2022, sending the issue of abortion laws back to state legislatures, Harris will use her speech to urge the expansion of “reproductive rights” to women across America.
While Harris has used her platform to call for the expansion of abortion access many times since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, this will be her first visit to the Tallahassee area during her two years as vice president. Here’s what readers should know about the event.
Details about the speech
Harris’ address will begin at 12:10 p.m. on Sunday at The Moon, a popular nightlife venue in Tallahassee, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
However, The Moon may not have been Harris’ first choice of venue for the speech. According to reporting by Florida’s Voice, the White House initially wanted this to take place at either the Florida Capitol or at Florida State University. Harris was allegedly rejected from both of these venues.
Addressing the vice president’s speech, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre commented that “the president and the vice president and a strong majority of the American people believe that women must be empowered to make decisions about their own lives and healthcare, and that these decisions should not – should never be – should not be politicized or second-guessed by politicians.”
A report from WTXL, a local news station in Tallahassee, indicates Harris is set to announce that President Biden will expand access to abortion medication via executive action.
At odds with state government
The vice president’s speech puts her at odds with officials in Florida’s state government, including Governor Ron DeSantis. The governor vowed to “expand pro-life protections” in Florida after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but specific laws have not yet been passed. Because the state may soon serve as a battleground in the fight over abortion laws, it is likely not a coincidence that Harris is addressing the nation from Florida’s capital city.
The White House has openly feuded with Governor DeSantis on multiple occasions. This is particularly true on the issue of immigration, where President Biden and his allies accused DeSantis of cruelty after the governor sent a plane full of illegal immigrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to Martha’s Vineyard — a wealthy, liberal neighborhood in Massachusetts.
The flight was “part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” Taryn Fenske, the governor’s communications director, told Fox News.
Abortion remains a contentious issue among college students
As the national debate continues over abortion, college students are opinionated on this issue. According to polling from 2019, the majority of college-aged Americans believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
However, there are also many vocal pro-life advocates on campuses across the country, including at Florida State. On January 20, the university’s chapter of Students for Life took part in the March for Life in Washington D.C., an annual pro-life demonstration.
Vice President Harris’ event, which will be attended by Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson, will undoubtedly elicit both applause and criticism from college students in Florida and around the country.