In a direct challenge to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to his back yard Sunday to announce that President Joe Biden was signing an executive order designed to guarantee access to abortion rights, including abortion-inducing medications.
During a roughly 20-minute address in Tallahassee marking what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Harris mocked DeSantis’ self-described “freedom” agenda as anathema to the struggles of generations of Americans to expand upon the basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
“Can we truly be free if a woman cannot make decisions about her life? Can we truly be free if a doctor cannot care for her patients? Can we truly be free if families cannot make intimate decisions about the course of their own lives?” the vice president asked an enthusiastic audience.
“And can we truly be free if so-called leaders claim to be, quote, I quote, on the vanguard of freedom while they dare to restrict the freedom of the American people and attack the very foundations of freedom?”
Biden’s order seeks to protect privacy and abortion access against state limits, including access to abortion drugs and people’s medical records, and to protect clinics and doctors.
The Republican governor frequently invokes his “free state of Florida” rhetoric, which originated from his opposition to face mask and vaccination mandates as COVID-19 raged.
“America is a promise. It is a promise of freedom and liberty, not for some but for all. A promise we made in the Declaration of Independence that we are each endowed with the rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights were not bestowed upon us; they belong to us as Americans. And it is that freedom and liberty that enabled generations of Americans to chart their own course and decide their own future,” she said.
She described a “march forward to fully realize our promise to complete the unfinished work to secure freedom and liberty to all” — work that included ending slavery, women’s suffrage, the Freedom Rides, and the LGBTQ pride movement.
“Those leaders expanded rights which then advanced the cause of freedom and liberty. And, 50 years ago today, so did those who won a right in the United States Supreme Court to recognize the fundamental, constitutional right of a woman to make decisions about her own body,” Harris said.
The Supreme Court took away that right last summer, she continued, as the audience proclaimed more than once, “It ain’t right.”
The result is that doctors face prison for providing drugs for arthritis because they also can induce abortion; that a 10-year-old girl in Ohio had to travel out of state to obtain an abortion; and that women endured life-threating medical complications because doctors are reluctant to treat miscarriages, Harris said.
These problems are a “direct result of laws designed by extremists — including in states like Florida,” with its radical abortion ban” after 15 weeks’ gestation with no exceptions for rape or incest.
‘They spoke with their votes’
She pointed to referenda in states across the country affirming abortion rights following the Supreme Court ruling.
“They spoke with their votes. In essence, they said one does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree that the government should not be telling people what to do with their own bodies.”
Harris opened her speech at about a quarter past noon in The Moon, a concert venue filled to its 1,500-person capacity, according to a Leon County sheriff’s deputy, with energetic, and rowdy abortion-rights supporters responding to the crowd.
Alexis McGill Johnson is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Speaking before Harris did, she said that abortion rights supporters came from across Florida, including Naples, Sarasota, Orlando, Palm Beach, Lakeland and Tampa.
“You got on buses. You rode in the rain,” she said.
Tallahassee is in North Florida and some consider it a Deep South state as it straddles the Georgia line.
In the venue, there was a backdrop of several U.S flags, plus Florida flags, at least three large screens and music with an upbeat tempo.
And as the crowd got louder, the group yelled out:
“Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Ron DeSanti has got to go.”
Florida Legislature emerged as a battleground over abortion rights even before a leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May 2022 changed the landscape.
In September 2021, House Republican lawmaker Webster Barnaby of Volusia County filed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bans in Florida and the country. It was HB 167, and would have prohibited abortion care after around six weeks’ gestation.
That initiative landed a subcommittee but eventually died in the 2022 legislative session. Barnaby was the lone sponsor.
The legislation would have provided financial incentives, allowing private citizens who successfully sue providers or people who otherwise help women get abortions to win judgments of $10,000 per case. Defendants would have to shoulder their own legal costs.
Not only were state Democrats determined to fight the proposal, even some GOP lawmakers were skeptics, including former Republican Senate President Wilton Simpson and state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, who now has succeeded Simpson in running the chamber. They particularly objected to the “private civil enforcement.”
Another attempt to restrict abortion came during the 2022 legislative session — a 15-week ban without exceptions for rape and incest, became law. Sponsoring the legislative, HB 5, was then-House member Erin Grall, who now serves in the state Senate. A Republican, Grall represents Glades, Highlands, Indian River, Okeechobee counties and part of St. Lucie County.
Gov. DeSantis signed the 15-week ban on April 14, 2022. Since then, the governor has been cautious about his wording about abortion restrictions.
The U.S. Supreme Court soon after that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, establishing a privacy right to abortion, on June 24, 2022.
But abortion rights advocates and Democrats across the nation are on guard for even further restrictions to women’s reproductive rights during the 2023 session.
Just last week, Republican House Speaker Paul Renner signaled that GOP members could push for restrictions, declaring during a press conference: “We have a ‘pro-life’ majority.”
So far, lawmakers have yet to introduce abortion legislation. Renner offered no details about his plans on this score when asked it by reporters in the state Capitol last week.
Passidomo has reiterated that she would consider a 12-week abortion ban that would include exceptions for rape and incest.
Numerous Democrats in the state House and Senate were at the venue, as well as prominent figures such as civil rights lawyer Ben Crump.
–Danielle J. Brown, Florida Phoenix
Thomas Kaspar says
That went over so well it was moved to an old Howard Johnson’s in Tallahassee and had to bus people in . She should be out helping Joe find misplaced secret Ukraine files he took from Obama .
She is a looser, just like her lost commander & thief. I love our governor, he is no non-sense , and he triggers you left wingnuts, that are dividing our country, and running it in the ground. You always want to bash him every chance you get, but you are pissing up a rope, if you think Florida is going to turn blue, California has room, maybe you should finish your BS journey.
Lamo: Where are you from?
Kafantaris George says
“We are fighting for something … let us not be deterred, let us not be overwhelmed. This is not a time to throw up our hands. This is a time to roll up our sleeves.” — Kamala Harris
Great speech. We need more people to stand up against the Repubs.
Does Harris understand she would not be speaking on abortion if HER mother would have aborted her .
Dear Sherry, I have been commenting on Flaglerlive as “Sherry” for over 10 years now, and I have a very different point of view. I would greatly appreciate it if you wouldn’t mid using a different handle since those that follow me would be very confused if they thought your word came from me. Thanks so much for your understanding and cooperation. Joy! Peace! Love!
The original Sherry
We will be mindful of the double, and ensure it doesn’t happen. If it does, please let us know and we’ll fix it.
Sherry: I am really, really glad you cleared that up because it certainly confused me!
Flaglerlive: Thank you for supporting Sherry!
Did Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother understand her son wouldn’t have killed 17 people if she had an abortion.
Great logic Sherry.
Dennis C Rathsam says
The most unqualifed person in the world, the cackling queen is where you democrats hang your hat. She has done a outstanding as our border czar. She is such a great VP, why then are they trying to replace her? Tell me, list all of her acomplishments these last 2 years?D
Dennis: Cackle? I’ve yet to hear her cackle. Got a problem with a strong, smart, capable black woman? They actually never really cackle.
Kamala Is Right says
Good. She should mock that wannabe dictator. I am one million percent certain, if his daughter were raped and pregnant as a result of that rape, she would be able to obtain an abortion. His wife, the same. Going further, if either were to have an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, they would never be denied care. This isn’t about the wealthy and privileged. They will always have access to safe care. This is about punishing everyone else. That’s all these autocrats do, is punish people for making the same choices and decisions they themselves would make.
They all bow down to Orbon in Hungary. One of the most anti-LGBTQ people in his cabinet was found felling a gay orgy out a window. This party (Republican) and these people (fascists) are all hypocrites. They project so much of what they are doing in their bills and hateful speeches. Of course they want people stupid. An uneducated society is more easily manipulated than one that can freely think and question. They don’t want freedom for all. They are playing culture wars because it takes focus away from the damage they are doing to everyone. Housing. Health care. Social security. Rent. Insurance. Inflation. Culture wars do nothing to solve those problems but they keep people talking about M&M’s when they should be talking about the fact that Republicans want to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, impose a 30% tax, get rid of the IRS which helps no one but the rich. Banning books is stupid. Books don’t make people racist or gay. How many Drag Queens have been arrested for s3xual assault? Zero. How many Republicans and Priests? There are at least 20-pages on Vice.
VP Harris had every right to call out his hypocrisy. His message will not resonate outside of this pea-brain state where so many people see culture wars as cool. It’s totally cool waging a war against books while your rent goes up $1,000 this year and your home owners insurance goes up $3,000 and your property taxes double. Banning Tommy Has Two Moms TOTALLY fixes that. Uneducated jack offs. I will be here laughing when you can no longer afford your home, medicine and lose your Social Security. Does it affect me too? Sure, but I have options and I’m younger so I’ll be fine.
Ray W. says
“Does it affect me too? Sure, but I have options and I’m younger so I’ll be fine.”
Does the full panoply of examples employed by Kamala is Right provide an example of the worldviews held by a significant portion of young Floridians? Is Kamala is Right a harbinger of the future of Florida politics? Might this explain the sudden importance to one of our political parties to pass legislation and engage in executive actions that limit the teaching of certain historical facts, or limit the activities of teachers and professors, or undermine the mission statements of higher educational institutions, or require the banning of certain books? Is this more than simple autocratic acts by the fearful among us? Is Kamala is Right the embodiment of an existential threat to one of our political parties?
“… I will be here laughing when you can no longer afford your home, medicine and lose your Social Security. Does it affect me too? Sure, but I have options and I’m younger so I’ll be fine. ”
One “option” you have is to pay into SS. When your generation convinces itself that SS is “doomed” and don’t, it will become a self-fulling prophecy (to the glee of many).
Just an opinion.
Did anyone else notice she left out the word LIFE in her word salad attempt to quote the Deceleration Of Independence. She’s a complete phony.
“America is a promise. It is a promise of freedom and liberty, not for some but for all. A promise we made in the Declaration of Independence that we are each endowed with the rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights were not bestowed upon us; they belong to us as Americans. And it is that freedom and liberty that enabled generations of Americans to chart their own course and decide their own future,”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Ray W. says
Is this a good example of how the partisan wanderer thinks?
One of the most difficult things in life, per Wittgenstein, is to not fool oneself. The Declaration of Independence permits two different people to be right in their interpretations at the same time. Kamala Harris can be right, and Will can be right, without either straying from the meaning of the authors of the Declaration of Independence.
Do FlaglerLive readers accept the idea that there can be a significant difference between expressions of opinions by partisan commenters and those opinions advanced by zealous advocates? Is it fair to argue that the partisans among us do not concern themselves with zealous advocacy, which requires the exercise of intellectual rigor?
Is Will wandering through life fooling himself? Does Will really believe that his being right automatically means that anyone who does not completely adhere to his point, word for word, is wrong? Does Will occupy a perfect or bad worldview? Is there room in his perfect or bad worldview for the good/better/best-bad/worse/worst worldview? Is Kamala Harris’ speech a good reflection of the worldview expressed in the Declaration of Independence, though it could be better? Is her speech better than most, but not perfect?
Concerned Citizen says
I’m just waiting for that headline article addressing Biden’s handling of classified documents.
So far this paper has avoided that subject. And I’m curious as to why. Should we not beholding ALL of our elected officials equally responsible?
Ray W. says
Good idea! There are a number of links to articles at the top of my FlaglerLive page. Most deal with local news. One links to Commentary articles. I looked at each Commentary headline, as you suggested, all the way back to August 8th. I found four relevant headlines over that five-month span.
Given our societal emphasis on instant gratification without need for proof, I wondered if your motivation for your comment at this early stage was simply to cast aspersions against FlaglerLive without proof. It strikes me as plausible to suggest that you wait five months and then look at the issue by doing your own search of the Commentary headlines. Maybe by then, you will have competent and reliable proof to support your inferred allegation. Maybe not. Right now, your premise has validity, but no proof. Validity keeps you in the argument, but without proof, winning the point seems out of reach.
With the appointment of two separate special counsels, I suspect that there will be more Commentary headlines on the issues. Patience really can be a virtue.
As an aside, it might be wise to remember that a South Florida DUI is almost always legally unrelated to a Delaware DUI, unless the same defendant commits DUIs in each state and the prosecutor decides to seek an enhanced sentence. As a practical matter, as a prosecutor, I really didn’t consider burglaries in Flagler County when I prosecuted Volusia defendants for burglary, unless my defendant was being prosecuted in both counties. Whatever happens to Trump has no legal relevance to whatever happens to Biden, right now. If neither possesses the necessary intent to commit a crime, then neither should be prosecuted. If competent and reliable evidence exists to prosecute one and not the other, then prosecute the one and not the other. Both? Prosecute both.
Politically, plenty of fodder for the partisans among us. But the fodder is not likely to ever rise above the level of talking to hear one’s head roar.
Concerned Citizen says
One thing I can always count on from you. Is your condescending holier than thou attitude. Especially when someone has an opposing view. But I digress it’s easy for me to forget that all my years in Law Enforcement and only having an undergraduate degree pale in consideration to you. I really do thank you for putting me in my place.
Elected officials. Especially ones with high security clearances should be held equally responsible across the board when violating the law. And their oath of office. But all we seem to care about is party affiliation.
I remember many years ago as a young Airman First Class right out of Security Police School getting briefings. As part of my security clearance process we were instructed on how to handle classified documents. And the penalties for violating such were pretty severe.Fast forward to a stint in OSI and I was investigating Senior Officers that mishandled sensitive information. The outcome was usually unpleasant for all involved. Sadly now we only want to hold those responsible we don’t like. Instead of taking into consideration our National Security.
Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office and their official party affiliation I naively expect them to do their job. And part of that is safe guarding our Nations Intelligence assets. When that chain breaks down Democrat or Republican I expect folks to be held equally accountable. One document or 20 it’s all the same. If it wasn’t supposed to leave a secure area then it’s still an issue. Clearances need to be pulled. And action needs to be taken swiftly. Sometimes there’s a human source at risk because that document was laying around someones house.
Ray W. says
Thank you, Concerned Citizen.
I post many of my comments in order to provoke a response. To me, the response can be more important than the provocation. I already know what I think. I want to know what you think. Perhaps that comes from 30 years of selecting jurors.
Prior to trials, I would warn my clients that some jurors want to get on the jury in order to hurt someone, anyone. I will never forget a judicial investiture during which the presenting lawyer advised the incoming judge that every day, someone will try to use the court to hurt someone else. The comment resonated with me, because I already knew that when I was a prosecutor, I could never forget that people would try to use me to hurt others. Sometimes, a juror’s motive to hurt might be revenge for crime against a loved one. Sometimes, the juror is simply malicious.
Time after time, clients told me that they wanted to select a certain juror because the juror smiled at them. I would remind them that it is easy for someone to fool someone else by pretending to be nice. From that perspective, it was crucial to develop methods that would prompt jurors to open up, to speak their minds. I often told jurors that I was about to ask a provocative question and that I wanted them to tell me why I was wrong. If they started criticizing me, I would gesture and ask them to please keep telling me that I was wrong.
You opened up. You added to the conversation. You told me I was wrong. Thank you. And I get to be right and wrong at the same time. Be patient. The articles about the Biden documents are coming.
Joe D says
Gee….by count we have Biden with, as of the past weekend approximately 26 sheets of classified documents. HIS lawyers found them( all but the final 6 sheets) and notified the National Archives. Let’s see..Former President Trump had 322+ documents, first denied he had them, THEN refused to give them up through his lawyers….because he decided to “declassify the documents “ himself!!! SURE….sounds about “equal”to me….give me a break! Open your EYES people!
Ray W.: I think that Will simply cherry picked the word salad. My favorite cartoonist, Jerry Van Amerongen, did a panel once of a guy slipping in a restaurant and it stated “Nobody said the salad bar would be easy.”
Why do Republicans do their best never to get along with others? They always have their boxing gloves on. They always feel it is their way or no way.
No wonder they can’t get anything done in Washington. We can all thank Trump who has no manners, no respect for others only himself and has managed to bring out the worst in others making them feel they can insult or attack those they don’t agree with.
People need to start realize there is always two sides to a story but the Republicans only listen to their side and no one elses.
Me: Because the Republicans have no real solutions to real problems in this country. They have no real plans, just a lot of foolishness.
I watched Trump at Diamond’s funeral talk about himself instead of the deceased. Who’s surprised? The epitome of narcissism. He doesn’t give a flying fig about the deceased, this country, me or you. Yet people say it’s the policy that he has. Yes, his “policy” is him. Hard to believe that they don’t see this.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
Why isn’t she promoting wholesome family values?
Maybe this Federal official should be pushing Federal law makers, and leave State lawmakers to decide state laws. Maybe she is just ramping up for a Presidential run.
Isn’t abortion a racist act to control population growth?
Timothy: “Isn’t abortion a racist act to control population growth?” No.
There is so much wrong with what Harris said that I don’t even know where to start. But I do want to know why we never hear of an arrest of whoever raped this 10 year old girl. Nothing! Just a 10 year old girl being pregnant….not raped….pregnant! I for one wonder if there is such a girl or Is this just another political stunt?
Yeah, we’re free alright, here in Florida; free to pay the legal cost incurred by challenges to DeSantis’s “legislation.” 17 million and mounting.