Capital Clicks

Vice President Kamala Harris heads to Iowa for ‘reproductive rights’ event

By: - March 14, 2023 6:25 pm

Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit Des Moines Thursday for an event focused on reproductive health care. (Photo by Danielle J. Brown/Florida Phoenix)

As Republican presidential hopefuls begin to frequent the Iowa caucus trail, Vice President Kamala Harris is planning an event Thursday in Des Moines on reproductive health care.

Harris — who dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race before the Iowa caucuses — will hold an event with Des Moines area leaders on “the fight to protect reproductive rights,” according to a White House news release.

President Joe Biden is expected to announce a 2024 bid for reelection, most likely with Harris as his running mate.

Her visit comes after former President Donald Trump’s campaign stop Monday in Davenport.  Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley made her second campaign trip to Iowa March 10, on the same day Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, considered a potential candidate, was visiting Iowa on a book tour.

Iowa has not banned abortion, but Democrats are concerned the medical procedure could be further restricted by Iowa Republicans in the future. In addition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court also overturned a precedent and ruled there is not a right to abortion under Iowa’s state constitution.

Republicans hold a trifecta at the Iowa Statehouse, and some Republican lawmakers introduced legislation in February to ban all abortion. The abortion ban bill did not clear the March “funnel” deadline, and Gov. Kim Reynolds said she’s waiting for the Iowa Supreme Court to rule on the 2018 “fetal heartbeat” law that is currently blocked from enforcement.

The “fetal heartbeat” law would ban most abortions after six weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, and when the pregnant person’s life is at risk.

Harris spoke with reporters Monday on reproductive rights, criticizing states that have restricted or fully banned abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. She said women’s autonomy is at risk, and that state restrictions on abortion procedures and medications point to bigger problems in health care.

“But if extremists and politicians can override FDA approval and remove one medication from the shelves — in this case, abortion medication — one must ask: What medication is next?” Harris said.

Further details on Harris’ event have not yet been announced.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. They have experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald.