© 2022 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

A look at the conversations Vice President Harris has been having on abortion

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

For Democratic and independent voters, abortion is one of the top motivating issues in the midterm elections. Vice President Harris has been elevating that issue from the White House, hosting dozens of events and traveling around the country. NPR's Deepa Shivaram followed Harris to Connecticut this week for one of those conversations.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Hello - last name.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Inaudible).

DEEPA SHIVARAM, BYLINE: It's a dreary afternoon in New Britain, and student volunteers at Central Connecticut State University are checking in guests.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Just down the hall and to the right.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Oh, OK.

SHIVARAM: Inside, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is highlighting an issue that's central to her campaign.

JAHANA HAYES: As women's rights are being eviscerated all over the country, it is critical that we take action to enshrine women's reproductive rights into law.

SHIVARAM: This is normally a safe Democratic district, but Hayes is in a tight race this year, one of several that Democrats need to win to try to hold on to the House. She brought in a well-known guest to help make her case.

HAYES: I think that our vice president of the United States of America is uniquely qualified to weigh in on this conversation.

SHIVARAM: The conversation is about protecting reproductive rights. And Harris has been weighing in - repeatedly. This was one of more than 20 events on abortion rights that the vice president has led since May, when the draft opinion reversing Roe v. Wade was first leaked.

VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: This is admirable to get out here and speak with force and feeling about this issue.

SHIVARAM: She's been taking this message to North Carolina, Indiana and Florida. And back at the White House, she's been bringing together all kinds of stakeholders - lawmakers, faith leaders, health experts - to listen and to energize.

JOCELYN FRYE: She is very much involved in the conversation. She is - these are not - this is not a meeting where she's just reading talking points.

SHIVARAM: That's Jocelyn Frye, a Biden administration ally who leads an advocacy group, the National Partnership for Women and Families. She was in one of Harris's meetings last month.

FRYE: You know, we've all been in those meetings when people are sort of just going through the motions. And this was not that type of a meeting.

SHIVARAM: It's not just abortion that Harris addresses in these events. She says that the Supreme Court decision threatens rights for LGBTQ people and people of color, and she sees an opportunity to bring these fights together.

HARRIS: Let's organize. Let's link arms and do what we need to do, including in the next 34 days.

SHIVARAM: That message resonated with Utah state representative Andrea Ramos (ph). She was at a roundtable with Harris and other Latina state lawmakers back in August.

ANDREA RAMOS: It was really, for me, not only a call of action for abortion access and what we could and couldn't do but really a call of action just to, you know, remind people this is the midterms, but there's a lot at stake.

SHIVARAM: And with just over a month until Election Day, the White House says Harris will continue to hold these kinds of events, and will take her message to states with competitive races. Deepa Shivaram, NPR News, the White House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.