WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris will speak Sunday at the White House celebration of the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a bittersweet historic milestone for the Biden administration since The US Supreme Court backed down national right to abortion.
Administration officials said she would speak in Florida, where Democrats have been wary of new efforts by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, to restrict abortion. The performance is a continuation Harris’ emphasis on reproductive rights in recent months, which included meetings with activists, health professionals and lawmakers from across the country.
It should also be a signal that the administration is not backing down on abortion now that the midterms are over. Democrats spoke better than expectedbut the prospects for codifying Roe v. Wade into law did not improve, and the administration struggling to find ways to provide access to abortion.
“The vice president will make it very clear that the fight to secure women’s fundamental right to reproductive health care is far from over,” Harris spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said in a statement. “She will outline the consequences of extremist attacks on reproductive freedom in states across our country and highlight the need for Congress to codify Roe.”
Allen added that Harris and President Joe Biden believe that “a woman’s right to choose is non-negotiable.”
Biden is likely to celebrate the anniversary as well, although his plans have not yet been revealed.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra plans to visit Minnesota this week as the state legislature works on a new enshrine abortion rights.
Administration officials said that while in Minnesota, Becerra expects to appear with Democratic Gov. Tim Waltz, stop at a Planned Parenthood facility and meet with organizers who want to use a mobile van to provide abortions to people coming to the state from Wisconsin, which has strict restrictions on abortion.
Becerra then plans to visit a Wisconsin clinic that no longer allows abortions and host an event with Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Gwen Moore, both Democrats, to speak to medical students.
It is likely that the fight for reproductive rights will focus more on state legislatures than Washington, where the two parties appear to be deadlocked on the issue.
Democrats hold 51 seats in the Senate, meaning they could block any Republican attempt to ban abortion nationwide, but their caucus lacks support to bypass abortion rules and restore national abortion rights.
In addition, the administration has limited tools to take executive action, although it has been working on an abortion pill more widely available.