Kamala Harris brings reproductive rights message to Michigan. Why you should hear it. | Opinion

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Later today, Vice President Kamala Harris will headline an event in Grand Rapids as the next stop of her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour. While this speech is part of a new tour, it will be a continuation of an old fight. A fight that the vice president has been leading over the past year and a half since the Supreme Court overturned Roe and federal protection for reproductive rights.

As two of her speechwriters, we supported the vice president as she traveled the country to meet with people on the frontlines of this fight. We saw her convene leaders at the White House. We saw her comfort mothers and grandmothers in Iowa, terrified that their daughters and granddaughters will grow up with fewer rights than they did. And we saw her console a woman in Florida who nearly bled to death when she was denied care at an Emergency Room while having a miscarriage.

These visits and conversations, as should be clear, are deeply personal, often emotional gatherings. Gatherings that ought to remind all of us, including men like the two of us, how important it is that we stand with women as their freedom comes under attack. The folks who attend these events are people from all walks of life, who, like the vice president, care deeply about reproductive rights. They represent a clear majority of Americans who agree with President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris that one does not have to put aside their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree that the government should not tell women what to do with their bodies.

Vice President Kamala Harris will be in Grand Rapids this Thursday, Jan. 22, 2023 on the "Fight for Reproductive Freedoms" tour.
Vice President Kamala Harris will be in Grand Rapids this Thursday, Jan. 22, 2023 on the "Fight for Reproductive Freedoms" tour.

Vice president's message to Michigan: Keep fighting

While preparing for a speech, the vice president without fail would ask what the “call to action” should be. In other words, after the speech is over, the cameras are off, and the motorcade departs, what should the audience do about the issue? For today’s event, the answer to that question is crystal clear. The people of Michigan have the power to shape the future of reproductive rights in our country. Many folks right here in Michigan have already been leveraging that power by organizing, marching, rallying and, of course, by voting. From the moment the Dobbs decision was leaked, Michiganders began mobilizing to advance a ballot measure codifying the right to an abortion in the state constitution. And in November of 2022, Proposal 3 passed. That successful effort helped lay the groundwork for other victories in states like Ohio – “proving also,” the vice president said in Wisconsin last month, that “this is not a partisan issue.”

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Despite the right to an abortion being guaranteed here in Michigan, that has not stopped opponents from filing legal challenges. Beyond those challenges, the right to an abortion is still not protected at the federal level. If extremist MAGA Republicans retake control of Congress and the White House this November, there will be nothing stopping them from passing a nationwide ban on abortions. That’s why the vice president is embarking on this tour. She is coming to Michigan today to energize the fight for reproductive rights, and her message will likely be quite simple: keep fighting. As exhausting as the work might be, and as disheartening as social media and cable news can be these days, there is too much on the line to give up now.

Dave Cavell
Dave Cavell

As the vice president comes to town today, recognize that this is your moment. It is no exaggeration to say that these next nine months are going to decide the future of reproductive rights in America. And in November, the voters of Michigan will likely determine the outcome of the election ― just like you did in 2020 ― and decide between pro- and anti-choice candidates for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House. So, there is no time to waste. Make sure you and your friends and relatives are registered to vote. Consider organizing regular house parties or online meetups to phone bank and write postcards.

Gevin Reynolds
Gevin Reynolds

Vice President Harris is traveling to Michigan today because she wants you to know that she is with you in this fight. So, we urge you: tune into today’s event if you can. As the Vice President speaks, you will hear the passion and the purpose in her voice. But remember that you also have a voice. Your country, your neighbors, and our freedoms as Americans all depend on you using it.

David Cavell served as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting in the Office of Vice President Kamala Harris. Follow him on X at @DavidFCavell. Gevin Reynolds served as Associate Director of Speechwriting in the Office of Vice President Kamala Harris. Follow him on X at @GevinReynolds. Submit a letter to the editor at freep.com/letters.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Harris in Grand Rapids: Michigan can change future of abortion rights