Vice President Harris lauds Illinois as model for nation on protecting abortion rights: ‘This is the home of hope and change’
In her fourth trip to Illinois since taking office, the vice president warned that reproductive rights are under assault across the nation. “And so we need you to get the vote out this November because truly, truly, this election, I do believe will determine the future of not only your home state but our home country, Harris said at rally at the University of Illinois Chicago.
In a visit to Chicago, Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday urged voters to stand up for abortion rights by voting for Democrats at the ballot box, capping a polarizing week that included a national abortion ban proposal — and an abortion ban in neighboring Indiana.
“This is the home of Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. This is the home of Harold Washington and Carol Moseley Braun and Barack Obama. This is the home of hope and change,” Harris said at a political rally at the University of Illinois Chicago.
“And so we need you to get the vote out this November because truly, truly, this election, I do believe will determine the future of not only your home state but our home country.”
In her fourth trip to Illinois since taking office, the vice president warned that reproductive rights continue to be under assault across the nation. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Tuesday introduced legislation that would ban abortions at 15 weeks, with room for states to enact even stricter laws.
And Indiana’s abortion ban went into effect on Thursday, further hindering reproductive health care resources in Illinois, which remains a safe haven for abortions in the Midwest.
“They are calling for a nationwide abortion ban that would include Illinois. They believe that the government should be making decisions for the women of America, personal decisions — making decisions about heart and home. They believe that government should make decisions for women about their own bodies,” Harris said of Republicans. “Well, we do not. We trust women.”
Harris said Republicans are “already moving the goalposts” in introducing a national ban, just two months before the November election.
“See it clearly. We’ve got to hold onto our numbers in the House and Senate because without a Democratic majority in Congress, the writing on the wall seems to be pretty clear about what other rights they’ll also come after,” Harris said.
The vice president said if Democrats expand their majority, they’ll focus on banning assault weapons, codifying the protections lost with the repeal of Roe v. Wade and passing the voting rights bill.
“I cannot wait to cast the deciding vote to break the filibuster on voting rights and reproductive rights,” Harris said. “So, help me do that.”
Harris heaped praise on Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose gubernatorial campaign organized the political rally at UIC, and his efforts in making Illinois a state with some of the strongest abortion rights laws in place.
“What you all are doing in Illinois really is providing a model for the rest of the country, about giving voice to the people, putting the power in the people, and then as a governor, doing the work of leading in a way that is defined by strength and compassion,” Harris said.
She also called Darren Bailey, Pritzker’s GOP opponent in the November election, “one of the most extreme, anti-choice candidates in the country.”
Pritzker called Harris a “fierce fighter against the tyranny of the MAGA Republicans who stand with that racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobe Donald Trump.”
The Democratic governor painted the November elections as a referendum on extremist politics — a key theme in his gubernatorial campaign.
“No, Donald Trump. No, Darren Bailey, we will not go back. Not here, not in Illinois. To all the right-wing office holders who have been cheering on the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, making it harder to vote, lauding the Supreme Court for taking away reproductive rights and rallying behind the national abortion ban, we’re coming for you,” Pritzker said.
“Anti-choice MAGA Republicans, you will lose in November.”
The vice president did not take questions during her Chicago trip — and did not mention the Thursday morning arrival of two busloads of immigrants to her residence in the nation’s capital, courtesy of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Earlier at a round table discussion with elected officials, advocates and students, Harris urged voters to protect their reproductive rights by electing Democrats up and down the ballot in November.
“Elections matter. We have a midterm coming up in 53 days. Who your governor is matters. Whether they’re going to protect these rights, and support these rights, to freedom and liberty, it matters,” Harris said. “Who’s your attorney general matters, whether they are going to protect and defend the principles ingrained in the Constitution of the United States. That matters.”
Besides the race for governor, several other key races in Illinois could have a major impact on abortion rights.
While Democrats have controlled the state Supreme Court since 1969, Republicans are aiming to change that with two seats on the ballot this November. Republican victories could change the balance of the court — where Democrats hold a 4-3 majority — at a high-stakes time.
At the round table, Pritzker criticized the Indiana abortion ban, saying it’s a misguided decision that says “women are not to be trusted to make decisions about their own health care.”
“It’s despicable. It’s misogynistic, and it’s deadly,” Pritzker said. “There’s no doubt that our nation is headed down a dangerous spiral, one where a radical few dictate who does and doesn’t deserve rights. But here in Illinois, we will not go backwards.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she will be introducing a budget in the coming weeks and vowed to “substantially expand our financial commitment to make sure that every single one of these providers has the resources that they need.” She said the city also wants to help provide resources for women coming into Illinois for abortions.
Lightfoot likened Republican states potentially criminalizing women who travel to other states for abortion services to fugitive slave laws.
“Well, not here, not now,” Lightfoot said at the roundtable. “Not in Chicago.”
The Chicago mayor already issued an executive order that barred any city agency, including the police department, from cooperating in any way with states that are seeking criminalization women seeking abortions, or providers.
At the rally later, Lightfoot, who has been a target in Republican ads and Bailey’s campaign stump speeches, likened a vote for the downstate farmer to a vote for the former president.
“Make no mistake, Trump is on the ballot,” Lightfoot said. “His name is Darren Bailey, and we need to send him back to the farm.”