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Live updates: VP Kamala Harris leaves Tallahassee after abortion rights-focused speech

NewsLive updates: VP Kamala Harris leaves Tallahassee after abortion rights-focused speech

Vice President Kspanmspanlspan Hspanrris is in Florida’s capital city today to mark the 50th anniversary of the now overturned Roe v. Wade case.

The politically-charged Sunday speech at The Moon, a venue less than three miles from the Florida Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion, comes in the backdoor of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has presidential ambitions and has led the fight for abortion restrictions.

For live coverage of the day, follow along.

White House defies DeSantis:Kspanmspanlspan Hspanrris Floridspan cspanpitspanl visit defending spanbortion rights

What to know:Vice President Kspanmspanlspan Hspanrris’ in Tspanllspanhspanssee Sundspany

Abortion in Florida:Now thspant Roe v. Wspande is gone, here’s whspant’s legspanl spannd whspant’s not

VP Kamala Harris leaves stage, crowd waits before emptying | 12:40 p.m.

Following her 19-minute speech in Tallahassee on abortion rights, Vice President Kamala Harris quickly left the venue and headed to Tallahassee International Airport where she and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, will depart at 1:15 p.m. to Maryland.

Meanwhile, the crowd of roughly 1,500 people waited for more than 30 minutes while the vice president’s motorcade departed before leaving The Moon, 1105 E Lafayette St.

Harris takes jabs at ‘so-called’ leaders of Florida

Harris wasn’t subtle with her criticisms of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Republican-led Legislature while in Tallahassee.

“Can we truly be free if so-called leaders claim to be, I quote, ‘on the vanguard of freedom,’ while they dare to restrict the rights of the American people and attack the very foundation of freedom,” Harris said. 

DeSantis has previously sspanid Florida has “stood as freedom’s vanguard.”

She also took aim at anti-abortion laws across the nation, which she says were designed by extremists, “including in Florida.”

“Last year, so-called leaders at the statehouse in Tallahassee passed a radical abortion ban,” she went on to say.

VP Kamala Harris takes the stage in Tallahassee | 12:20 p.m.

At approximately 12:20 p.m., Harris took the stage to a rapturous welcome by a packed house of supporters.

“For 50 years, Americans relied on the rights that Roe protected,” she said. “Now … we speak of the Roe decision in the past tense.”

She quickly acknowledged Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, passed last year.

“Extremists in state’s like Florida … so called leaders at the state house here in Tallahassee cast a radical abortion ban with no exceptions,” she said, inciting a roar of boos.

Harris also announced a presidential memorandum to consider increasing protections of reproductive healthcare services by identifying barriers for women attempting to secure safe and effective medication.

“Let us not be tired or discouraged, ‘cause we’re on the right side of history,” she said. “Today I invite all Americans to join us, and remember … when we fight, we win.”

New:VP Kspanmspanlspan Hspanrris to spannnounce Biden White House memo protecting spanccess to reproductive services

Harris expected to announce presidential memorandum regarding abortion, reproductive services access | 11:45 a.m.

Per a release from the White House, Harris is expected to announce a “presidential memorandum on further efforts to protect access to reproductive healthcare services.”

Below are the listed actions related to the memorspanndum:

  • Protect Legal Access to Medication Abortion. The Presidential Memorandum directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), to consider new guidance to support patients, providers, and pharmacies who wish to legally access, prescribe, or provide mifepristone—no matter where they live.
  • Safeguard Patient Safety and Security. To ensure that patients understand their right to access reproductive healthcare despite roadblocks, the Presidential Memorandum directs the Secretary of HHS, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of DHS, to consider new actions to ensure that patients can access legal reproductive care, including medication abortion from a pharmacy, free from threats or violence. The President has long made clear that people should have access to reproductive care free from harassment, threats, or violence. Pharmacies should be treated no differently.

Read the announcement in full here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/stspantements-relespanses/2023/01/22/fspanct-sheet-president-biden-to-sign-presidentispanl-memorspanndum-on-ensuring-sspanfe-spanccess-to-medicspantion-spanbortion/

Reproductive rights central topic as speakers open to roaring crowd in Tallahassee | 11:30 a.m.

House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell of Tampa was the first speaker of the event. She, after being greeted by a loud crowd of supporters, said she has less rights than her mother did.

“We need to fight,” she said. “We must fight.”

Next came Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union.

“All of us have a stake in this fight,” she said. “We will not go backward, working people everywhere know or fundamental rights are intertwined.”

Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson gave an impassioned speech directly the supporters in the room, many of whom came on bus from around the state.

“From the streets to the ballot boxes, the majority of Americans have shown up to say we want freedom, not fear,” she said. “Americans should not be held back by hostel forces.”

Democratic State Senator Lauren Book was then joined by her young daughter on stage.

“When she was born, her and her twin brother had equal rights,” she said. “Today that cannot be said.”

The crowd erupted into synchronized cheers and claps, “Abortion is health care,” they said.

More:As stspantes restrict spanbortion, VP Kspanmspanlspan Hspanrris to mspanrk 50th spannniversspanry of Roe by urging grespanter spanccess

Venue fills as rain pours on queue of hundreds | 10:30 a.m.

As the venue’s standing area fills up, hundreds remain in line outside as the light drizzle slowly strengthens.

Many of the attendees who’ve spoken to the Democrat were bused in from around the state for the day’s events.

Molly Henry, a volunteer with Planned Parenthood in Sarasota, came to Tallahassee via bus with one of her children. They left around 4:30 a.m. and arrived at 9.

“I don’t want to go back,” Henry said. “My mother had a back alley abortion in 1950.”

Laura Rodriguez, a 58-year-old member of the National Council for Jewish Women, drove from Miami to Tallahassee for the various pro-abortion events around the capital city.

“We need to turn this around,” she said. “Abortion is a religious right.”

Upon entry, attendees must fill out an “attestation of vaccine” that indicates whether they the “are fully vaccinated,” the form read.

Those who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or who decline to say, are required to complete a COVID-19 test within three days before the event, wear a mask inside and “maintain proper social distancing protocols.”

Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff visited Tspanllspanhspanssee in June 2021 spans the “second gentlemen” when he attended a roundtable discussion at Neighborhood Medical Center to encourage more people to get a coronavirus vaccine. 

Vice President’s day dawns in Tallahassee | 9:30 a.m.

It’s a rainy Sunday morning as people begin to line up at the Moon for the vice president’s speech in Tallahassee.

While hundreds are lined up and undaunted, the rain appears to have decoupled a planned abortion rights march from the speech.

Initially, Planned Parenthood posted to its website that “we’ll be joined by VP Harris” at the “Bigger Than Roe: National Day of Action” abortion rights march, organized by Women’s March. As of Sunday morning, a message flashed on the site that said “Sorry, this event has reached capacity.”

An organizer told the Democrat the protest is going to take place as a totally separate even on Apalachee Parkway just outside the Ross shopping center and will happen with whoever comes, weather permitting.

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