Vice President Harris’ remarks during a meeting with state attorneys general on protecting access to reproductive health care

Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

12:47 p.m. EDT

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Good morning. I welcome these extraordinary national leaders, the attorneys general, who have gathered this afternoon to discuss, I believe, one of the most pressing issues with respect to one of the core responsibilities of attorneys general , which is to be concerned with the safety, health and well-being of the people of their state and, by extension, of their country.

I also want to mention that we – the President, myself, many of us – are deeply concerned and troubled by today’s Supreme Court decision. This, I believe, defies common sense and the Constitution of the United States.

I was in Buffalo. I attended one of the funerals. We saw the massacre of 19 babies and their teachers in Uvalde. We can continue on the list by explaining why, again, this is making the headlines, so to speak, of the concern of the American people about what we can and what we have a responsibility to do in terms of reasonable gun safety laws.

And it is for this reason that I believe today’s Supreme Court decision defies logic in terms of what we know we are capable of doing with reasonable gun safety laws to ensure the safety and well-being of the people of our nation.

And on the subject at hand: as a former Attorney General, I know the work of these extraordinary leaders, and it is the work of being charged with a great responsibility – the responsibility to protect some of our rights. and the most fundamental freedoms.

It is the responsibility to enforce civil rights protections. It is the responsibility to protect consumers. It is the responsibility as a legal director, which each of them has a responsibility to be, to concern themselves with ensuring that the laws passed in their state are consistent with their state constitutions and the states constitution. United States, and to ensure that the application is conducted in a fair and equitable manner in terms of the treatment of laws and the application of laws in their State.

And so, I thank them for being here today. We’re going to talk specifically about an extension of their responsibilities, which has to do with the responsibility to be concerned with the priority of ensuring the health, safety and well-being of women in their condition and–and the protection of their reproductive rights and freedoms.

And so, I asked these attorneys general to meet with us, knowing that they have a central role to play in defending women’s reproductive freedom and their rights to make decisions about their own bodies.

As reproductive rights are restricted in our country and potentially by the Supreme Court soon, I think we believe and we have started preliminary discussions about how attorneys general – state attorneys general have the power – can have the power , at the very least, issue guidelines to ensure that people in their state know their rights; that they have the power to assess and possibly challenge the constitutionality of laws that are passed in their states; and to convene legal organizations, non-profit law firms around what the legal community in their state can do, has the capacity to do, to offer pro bono services, to offer services to people who will be affected by the laws that are being passed in their states.

And, of course, for the attorneys general who have criminal prosecution jurisdiction in their states and, therefore, law enforcement – because many of them are the primary law enforcement officials in their State – the ability to direct law enforcement resources in a way that, again, is actually effective in ensuring the safety and well-being of the people of their state.

So that’s the conversation we’re going to have. I think it is very important to point out that in 43 states in our country, the people elect their attorney general.

And so I urge the people of our country to know the power they have to impact how the laws of their state are enforced by paying attention to who their Attorney General is and where they stand on this important issue in terms of upholding the principles, spirit, and ideals of the United States Constitution in a manner that concerns the equal treatment of all.

And so, with that, thank you again to all of you, these extraordinary leaders, for coming together today. And I look forward to our discussion. And we will now begin our discussion. So, thanks to the press for being here. And I wish you a good day.

END 12:52 p.m. EDT

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