Kamala Harris Becomes First Vice President to Visit Planned Parenthood with an Abortion Provider



CNN

Vice President Kamala Harris visited a Planned Parenthood clinic in Minnesota on Thursday, marking the first time a sitting US president or vice president has met with an abortion provider.

The visit was part of Harris' efforts to highlight an issue the campaign hopes will galvanize moderate voters in November.

“I'm at this health clinic to promote the work that's going on in Minnesota as an example of what true leadership looks like,” Harris told reporters from the clinic's lobby.

The vice president traveled to Minnesota for the sixth stop on his “Fight for Reproductive Freedom” tour. She visited a Planned Parenthood facility and spoke with staff about reproductive rights.

“The reason I'm here is because it's a health care crisis,” Harris said. “Clinics like this have had to close as part of this health crisis and leave many women in need of this essential care with no choice in a reasonable geographic area.”

Harris kicked off the tour in January in Wisconsin, and has since performed in California, Georgia, Michigan and Arizona.

Harris wanted to visit the Women's Health clinic as part of her reproductive rights tour that began earlier this year, based on meetings she had with patients and providers, according to a source familiar with the matter. It's an extension of a week-long tour to capture an issue that's on voters' minds and where Harris has emerged as a key voice.

Harris' group focused on reproductive rights as a key political issue they believed the vice president would lead uniquely, and advisers and campaign officials considered his college campus tour a success. In 2021, the issue was at the forefront of the vice president's mind when he held a roundtable on reproductive rights.

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Minnesota marks the fifth state Harris has visited since the president's State of the Union address last week. Comments prepared from the president's speech included the word abortion, but the president did not say the word during the speech.

In 2023, Minnesota's Democratic Governor Tim Walls signed a bill into law that included a “fundamental right” to access abortion in the state.

The vice president's visit to Minnesota comes during what the Biden campaign is calling a “March of Action,” which includes plans for President Joe Biden and Harris to travel to each battleground state this month.

Roe v. The vice president drew on evidence to underscore the implications of Wade's reversal.

It's part of a broader Biden campaign strategy that officials have been plotting for months, recognizing the need to mobilize young voters and voters of color and capitalizing on what they see as one of the vice president's strengths.

But it hasn't been without hiccups.

Harris has occasionally encountered detractors on her reproductive freedom journey, including a group that refused to participate in the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The campaign has focused on making abortion the centerpiece of its message as it seeks to court moderate voters — especially women.

Half of registered voters in the United States say this year's elections will have a “big impact” on access to abortion, and 1 in 8 voters say abortion is the most important issue driving their vote, according to a new KFF survey.

This story was updated Thursday with additional developments.

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