VP Harris in GR: ‘Elections matter’ for abortion access

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Vice President Kamala Harris was in Grand Rapids Thursday ahead of Michigan’s presidential primary next week.

The vice president hosted an invitation-only conversation at Fountain Street Church as part of her nationwide “Fight For Reproductive Freedoms” tour, alongside figures like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; Rep. Hillary Scholten, D-Grand Rapids; and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Thursday’s event marked Harris’ fourth visit to Michigan as vice president.

“Freedom is fundamental to the promise of America. What we saw over a year ago is the highest court in our land … took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America, from the women of America,” Harris said of the overturn of Roe v. Wade. “Since that ruling came down, we have seen states across our country — thankfully not Michigan — proposing and passing laws that criminalize doctors and nurses … providing reproductive care to their patients. We have seen laws being passed that make no exception even for rape and incest.”

She says these measures have resulted in “suffering.”

“We must be explicit about what that is, because this is not a hypothetical point,” Harris said. “Women have been having miscarriages in toilets in our country, have been denied access to emergency care.”

Harris says Former President Donald Trump is responsible.

“When you look at the fact that the previous president of the United States was clear in his intention to handpick three Supreme Court justices who would overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade. And he did it,” she said. “And that’s what got us to this point today.”

Though Michigan voters in 2022 enshrined abortion rights in the state’s constitution, Harris encouraged them to take part in the national election, which, she says, will affect the future of reproductive rights. She said there was a “strong concerted effort to pass a national ban” on abortion.

“Do understand the people of Michigan cannot sit back and take comfort without also understanding that elections matter. And there is a full-on concerted effort to pass a national ban, which would mean the people of Michigan would not be as safe,” she said.

MICHIGAN A BATTLEGROUND IN NOVEMBER

In 2022, having abortion on the Michigan ballot rekindled the Democratic base and helped the party take control of both chambers of the state Legislature and all three top executive offices for the first time in 40 years.

Democrats are hoping that the issue will help them nationwide in the November general election. 270towin.com, a website that tracks polls and forecasts the electoral vote, projects that Democrats have about 229 electoral votes leaning their way and Republicans 232. It takes 270 to win.

There are 44 electoral votes up for grabs between Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. That’s enough to put either side over the top. A candidate could also win one of those states in combination with toss-ups Georgia, Arizona or Nevada.

With Michigan, long a must-win, particularly for Democrats, in play this year, West Michigan will see many more events like Thursday’s before the November election.

Michigan’s presidential primary will be held Tuesday. Early voting, which Michigan will have statewide for the first time this election, is underway. Former President Donald Trump was on the southeast side of the state on Saturday, the first day of the early voting period, to rally supporters. His primary opponent, former Ambassador Nikki Haley, will be in Grand Rapids on Monday for a rally.

For more information on how to register or to find your voting location, visit the state’s website.

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