Vice President Kamala Harris made a surprise appearance at an abortion rally in Los Angeles on Saturday, a day after the Supreme Court issued an administrative stay regarding restrictions on mifepristone, the drug used in about half of all abortions nationwide.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito granted a five-day pause on Friday after the Department of Justice requested the court intervene following a ruling by Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, which paused FDA approval of the abortion drug. In her remarks, Harris urged rallygoers to “stand up and fight,” describing the situation as a “critical moment” in U.S. history.
“When you attack the rights of women in America, you are attacking America,” Harris told the crowd of a few hundred people. “We have seen attacks on voting rights, attacks on fundamental rights to love and marry the people that you love, attacks on the ability of people to be themselves and be proud of who they are.”
Harris warned against pro-life voices, who she says “attack fundamental rights,” claiming that they “by extension, attack our democracy.” The vice president also criticized the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in 2022, saying the justices “took a constitutional right that has been recognized from the people of America.”
“I fundamentally believe that you can gauge the strength of a democracy based on the strength of women in that democracy,” Harris told the crowd.
Saturday’s Los Angeles rally was organized by Women’s March Action, the political arm of the Women’s March Foundation.
We march today to keep abortion safe and legal — and to protect a women’s right to choose.
— Mayor Karen Bass (@MayorOfLA) April 16, 2023
Abortion rights activists planned marches and rallies for Saturday and Sunday to voice their support for access to the controversial drug. Some of the restrictions imposed by Kacsmaryk would have gone into effect Saturday had the Supreme Court not granted the pause. The stay expires Wednesday, meaning the Court could likely decide whether to issue a longer stay pending appeal per the Biden administration’s request by then.
“Simply put, FDA built on its already-suspect 2000 Approval by removing even more restrictions related to chemical abortion drugs that were present during the final phase of the investigation. And it did so by relying on studies that included the very conditions FDA refused to adopt,” Kacsmaryk said in his ruling, which was praised by pro-life advocates but later partially blocked by the Fifth Circuit.
Shortly after Kacsmaryk’s decision, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice issued a conflicting ruling that said the FDA still had to allow mifepristone in 17 Democratic-led states who brought a lawsuit.
Last week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We are going to continue to fight in the courts, we believe the law is on our side, and we will prevail.”