“Governor, I enjoy the role, the national leadership you have provided on this issue,” Harris told Baker as a phalanx of Democratic lawmakers and other officials flanked her at IBEW Local 103 headquarters in Dorchester.
There were no announcements during the roundtable, which was the latest stop for Harris in what has become something of a nationwide abortion rights tour since the Supreme Court’s draft opinion leaked. quashing Roe v. Wade in May. But the scene, featuring the Democratic vice president and a popular Republican governor speaking in unison about the importance of protecting abortion rights, was striking how unusual it was given the political environment. polarized country.
Polls suggest a majority of Americans don’t want Roe unseated and on Tuesday Kansas voters vehemently rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed lawmakers to ban abortion.
Harris noted these findings, leaning into the message that abortion was not a partisan issue, but rather a matter of “freedom and freedom.”
But despite signs of popular support for abortion rights, many Republican officials across the country are pushing to implement sweeping bans, which Harris decried.
“In many states, so-called extremist leaders are passing laws that make no exception for rape or incest,” Harris said. “I am a former prosecutor specializing in cases of child sexual abuse and violence against women. The idea that one would demand someone who endured an act of extreme violence and then submit them to the will of the government without investing self-determination in them. . . making decisions based on what she believes to be in her best interest is outrageous.
Baker also pointed out that support for abortion transcends politics.
“This issue of reproductive rights has not been a partisan issue,” Baker said. “My mother explained to me what my position would be on this issue when I was very young. But I worked for two governors, both Republicans, in the 1990s who were also big proponents of women’s rights to make that decision on their behalf and on behalf of their families.
A moderate who chose not to seek a third term, Baker is perhaps one of the most prominent Republican proponents of abortion rights. In July, he signed a law that expands abortion rights in the state.
Harris described voting in Kansas as people putting politics aside to send a message to their government that they don’t want their rights taken away.
“I applaud the leaders – those who come from their home in Kansas for what they just did two nights ago,” Harris said. “They spoke loudly and said, ‘It doesn’t matter who she voted for in the last election or who she plans to vote for in the next election. Do not take away his rights and allow the government to replace his priorities with his priorities. ”
Baker noted that many independents and Republicans “voted for choice” in Kansas.
Also in attendance was Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat from Massachusetts, who greeted Harris at the airport before the event.
“Our bodily autonomy shouldn’t be up for debate,” Pressley said. “But devastatingly it is. And we know who will be most affected: the most marginalized, black and brown people, LGBTQ people, the disability community.
After Boston, Harris visited Martha’s Vineyard – a frequent summer residence of the political elite and a perennial piggy bank for politicians — for a Democratic fundraiser and “friends and family” political event later Thursday.
The Boston Gathering was part of a series of events Harris hosted at the White House and around the country to meet with local elected officials, advocates and vendors who support abortion rights. It was one of the few, however, in which Harris highlighted a blue state where abortion rights are not already or soon will be restricted. The trip followed President Biden’s issuance of an executive order directing the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to do more to support out-of-state travel for abortion procedures and promote research on the maternal health.
Harris has been a long-time proponent of abortion rights, dating back to her days in California as attorney general, and is seen by the movement as a loyal fighter on the issue, lending the administration credibility despite the record mixed review of Biden on abortion rights. Biden drew criticism from lawyers for failing to take strong enough action to quickly reverse the effects of the Supreme Court ruling.
If voters were to see Harris as a credible messenger on the issue, it could also help turn the rhetoric on her tenure as vice president, which has been beset by critical headlines of her own making and otherwise staff turnover. and at- times direct errors.
Harris was greeted with plenty of flavors from Boston on Thursday, including a note about her athletic allegiances. State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, who has said abortion rights are “sacrosanct,” thanked Harris, a San Francisco Bay Area native and Golden State Warriors fan, for more than his visit.
“Thank you for not bringing up the NBA Finals,” he said.
“I was so close,” Harris replied with a laugh.