By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with a group of seven Democratic attorneys general on Thursday, a White House official said, to discuss defending a key ruling that could drastically affect abortion rights in the country. restrict.
The conservative-majority US Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming days to overturn Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to abortion. †
The White House meeting offers a glimpse into preparations underway before the verdict comes out and ahead of the state-level abortion battles expected to take place. The meeting will be attended by the attorneys general of Wisconsin, Nevada, Illinois, California, Delaware, New York and Washington state, the official, who did not wish to be identified, told Reuters.
The state’s attorneys general have significant influence over the rules in their state, and the Democratic attorneys general have pledged to hold the line if Roe falls. They are expected to have an unprecedented impact on the future of abortion access and will be the first line of defense for the Biden administration fighting to preserve abortion rights at the state level.
“She (Harris) will strengthen the actions they are taking as a model for other states,” the official said.
In Washington state, for example, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has called on the state’s medical licensing authorities to state publicly that they will not disqualify health care providers from practicing in the state just because they performed abortions in states where it has become illegal.
In Delaware, Attorney General Kathleen Jennings has filed a lawsuit to prevent a city from requiring an abortion clinic to conduct funerals for fetal remains at patient expense.
The Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) is preparing to spend millions to elect candidates who support abortion rights, including in Republican-led states that are likely to ban nearly all abortions if Roe is destroyed.
In May, a draft advisory was issued indicating that the court will reverse the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which had been leaked. https://reut.rs/39NTwlQ
As the court moves closer to issuing a final ruling on the case, expected by the end of June, Harris has begun to look aggressively on the subject. She was one of the most outspoken voices on abortion rights in the Biden administration — a topic that remains a complicated one for President Biden.
A lifelong Catholic, Biden was against Roe in the early days of his career and only later came to embrace abortion rights. He made strong remarks after the draft opinion was unveiled, but until then, as president, he had never said the word “abortion” out loud.
On Wednesday, Harris convened a meeting with a diverse group of stakeholders on the issue of abortion rights, including patients and health care providers, reproductive rights advocates, faith leaders, constitutional and privacy experts.
“We must be ready to stand as a united front when this decision falls,” Harris said. “Part of what we will do as a coalition is to clarify… how Roe will affect privacy rights across the board.”
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; editing by Richard Pullin)