Vice President Harris hammers Florida’s ‘radical abortion ban,’ promises to keep fighting to protect rights
Vice President Kamala Harris marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in Tallahassee. Jan. 22, 20123

Kamala Harris
'Today we are fighting back.'

Vice President Kamala Harris came to Tallahassee on the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling where she vowed that the Biden administration would continue to take steps to ensure a women’s right to access abortion despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to repeal it.

Harris made her speech before a boisterous crowd of  about 1,500 abortion rights advocates gathered just a mile from the state Capitol where the Republican-controlled Legislature is considering whether to further tighten abortion rights.

“Since our founding, we have been on a march forward to fully realize our promise. To complete the unfinished work. To secure freedom and liberty for all. This fight will not be inevitable. This will not just happen. It takes steadfast determination and dedication. The kind of determination possessed by some of our greatest patriots,” Harris said, comparing the fight for abortion rights as part of a line of actions taken to secure other rights such as the right to vote for women and civil rights Freedom Riders in the early 1960s.

Harris also criticized Florida’s existing abortion ban as “radical” and criticized the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis for warning health care providers about possible criminal charges if they distribute abortion pills.

Biden signed a presidential memorandum Sunday directing the secretaries of the departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Services to consult with the U.S. Attorney General  and consider new ways to ensure that patients can access legal reproductive care, including medication abortion from a pharmacy, free from threats or violence.

The presidential memorandum also directs the AG and HHS and DHA secretaries to make  recommendations to the White House Interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access on additional ways to address barriers faced by patients, providers, and pharmacies in safely and legally accessing or providing 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early January announced the Mifepristone REMS Program, which establishes the parameters for  certified physicians to prescribe mifepristone and for certified pharmacies to dispense the medicine.

But Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, whose secretary answers to DeSantis, issued an alert telling providers that only physicians are authorized to terminate pregnancies. 

The memo ends with a warning that “the Agency will refer to local law enforcement any evidence of criminal activity that it discovers in its surveys of providers.”

Harris said Florida is one of 22 states to take such action.

“So today, we are fighting back,” Harris told the crowd.

Harris met with state Democratic lawmakers last year in Orlando shortly after Roe was rolled back. But Sunday’s visit in Tallahassee put her in DeSantis’s back yard.

Her visit also brought out more than 1,500 supporters— young and old, men and women, parents and their children— who support abortion rights. The speech also brought U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Tallahassee Mayor John Daley, former Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to Tallahassee on a dreary gray day.

University of South Florida student Jonathon Chavez traveled from Tampa for the rally along with other members of the USF College Democrats.

“Anytime we accept or normalize the chipping away of rights for someone that means we are normalizing or accepting that we chip away human rights,” he said.

Florida already has restrictions on abortion including a mandate that women wait 24 hours before terminating their pregnancies. Florida law also precludes minors from obtaining abortions without parental consent. And the Florida Legislature last year passed a law banning abortion after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Florida’s current ban is less stringent than surrounding Southern states’ abortion bans, though. Planned Parenthood of America President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, noted the number of out-of-state patients coming to Florida to obtain abortions has doubled.

With Republicans being in control of the Florida Legislature, Cabinet and Governor’s Office, abortion regulations are expected to be considered once again. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo in December said lawmakers could pursue legislation shortening the window to 12 weeks. And there are those who want the state to go further and make all abortions illegal.

Prior to Harris’ appearance onstage, the crowd heard from House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book. She was introduced by Sujatha Prabhakaran, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

Prabhakaran shared the story of a woman who had to travel to a different state to obtain an abortion because of the state’s mandatory 24 hour waiting period and ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

But she told the crowd that now is the time to build hope, not lose it.

“As an abortion advocate, I admire Vice President Harris’s commitment to listening to the experts: the health care providers, social justice leaders, legal experts, and legislators who are on the frontlines of this fight in our states,” she said as she introduced Harris. “And as a brown Indian-American woman, it means that I could tell my three year old daughter that I was introducing a Vice President who is half Indian, just like her.  Those are such powerful and inspiring words — ‘just like her.’ ”


Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Mac Wiseman

    January 22, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    To reporters of the real news – the VP’s visit is a total sham and a cooked up leftist scam of a basic dig at Desantis and an attempt to make the small brained VP look good for her first time.
    The VP will get good and supportave turnouts and little if any oppisition. Why you ask? Besause Tallahassee and the surrounding County, the capitol and location of the Govornors Mansion, has an 80% leftist voting population. Its going to be played out as if all of Florida wants more abortions and loves the VP.
    Unless of course one news agency tells the truth about the VP’s plan to use Tallahassee’s 80% leftist turnout support false narrative that all of Fliorida feels that same way.
    However even though its going to be a big hoax of news reporting I still have confidence the VP will screw the lefts plans and fake optics all up by her incompitence.

  • Elliott Offen

    January 22, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Need abortion for rural sub-apes. Republicans want neo slavery. This is why they need sub-apes.

  • Richard Bruce

    January 22, 2023 at 9:50 pm

    Our Founding Fathers and about 99.9% of the population in 1776 would be appalled by the VP comments and her support of elective abortions.

    • Phil Morton

      January 23, 2023 at 5:00 am

      They’d be appalled at In God We Trust on our money and elsewhere in our government but here we are.

    • cassandra

      January 23, 2023 at 2:36 pm

      Ben Franklin published an abortion recipe in his popular math textbook that women and girls had– and used–in their own homes. Newspapers contained ads for abortion pills and abortion services. Jefferson wrote matter-of-factly –not in horror or disapproval–of Native American women using vegetables to procure abortions so that they could join the men in war and hunting.

      Laws became common as a result of male doctors seeing a profit opportunity and wanting to end competition from midwives and a decreasing birth-rate that frightened some people.

      You say: “99.9% of the population in 1776 would be appalled” They would be appaled by women doing anything: no voting, property rights, men could beat and rape their wives, and more. Not exactly the standard that we should be keeping to in the 21st century.

      When you can honestly say that you would welcome some little pipsqueak governor using your body as a public utility and forcing you to provide life-support services without your consent, or forcing you or your child to donate blood, bone marrow–or a kidney against your will, then your comment can be considered an opinion. Until then it’s just some misogynistic hypocrite’s ranting about women being out of (your) control.

      BTW: For a man who has previously commented that women should keep their legs together as birth control, you’re merely looking like an a$$ again.

  • rosa

    January 23, 2023 at 11:13 am

    Welcome to our Vice President and it’s right for a woman to speak out in favor of woman’s freedom of autonomy over personal health decisions! Shame on those who would deny such a basic human right. An unborn fetus is NOT a person. Those who would cite the Holy Bible to suggest a “right to life” are uninformed or shameless liars. There is not one verse in the Bible that says that abortion is a sin. Read it and see. If you disagree, please reply here and now with the citation.

  • Paul Passarelli

    January 23, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    the article states: “Prior to Harris’ appearance onstage, the crowd heard from … and Sujatha Prabhakaran, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.”

    Which is akin to *SWORN TESTIMONY* that without the ability to perform abortions Planned Parenthood is economically nonviable.

Comments are closed.


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