Vice President Harris Makes a Montco Stop to Talk About Reproductive Freedom
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Vice President Harris Makes a Montco Stop to Talk About Reproductive Freedom

VP Kamala Harris and actress Sheryl Lee Ralph at Hafter

Vice President Kamala Harris teamed up with actress Sheryl Lee Ralph during an official campaign stop in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on May 8 to talk about women’s rights with voters. Salus University was asked to host the event at the Hafter Student Community Center on the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, campus as a non-partisan venue, which is available as a community space. 

Harris has been traveling around the country talking about reproductive freedom. She was joined at the Montgomery County event by Ralph, who stars in the mockumentary sitcom Abbott Elementary, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, becoming the first African-American woman in 35 years to win the award.

Among the local officials also in attendance were Pennsylvania State Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, who represents the 17th District in Montgomery and Delaware counties; Pennsylvania State Sen. Maria Collett, who represents the 12th District in Montgomery and Bucks counties; and Montgomery County Board of Commissioners chair Jamila Winder.

VP Harris and Sheryl Ralph on stage at HaftnerAfter being introduced by Ralph, Harris described how at a young age she decided she wanted to take on the issue of harm being done against women and children. And, for a majority of her career as a prosecutor in California, she specialized in those types of cases.

“To say to a survivor of a crime of violence to their body, a violation to their body, that you, the survivor, don't have a right to make a decision about what happens to your body next. That's immoral,” said Harris. “I think of it in the context of the idea that we are a nation that was founded on certain fundamental principles including that, which is, we believe in freedom, the freedom of individuals to make decisions, in particular, about what I call heart and home. And I think we all agree, one does not have to abandon in their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do with her body.”

Harris described how her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, had two goals in her life: To raise her two daughters and to end breast cancer.

“My mother was a breast cancer researcher. She was one of the very few women and women of color. And, my mother, since the earliest days of my memory, fought for the dignity of women in the healthcare system,” said Harris. “We still have some work to do for people to recognize, in particular, the importance of women having dignity and access to reproductive healthcare in every way.”

Harris said she believes that every issue is a woman’s issue and women’s issues should be everyone’s issues. That would include the issue of reproductive freedom, she said. In regards to the election in November, she recognizes that the stakes are high, not only for women, but for the country as a whole.

VP Kamala Harris in the crowd at Hafter