Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a roundtable discussion with faith leaders on reproductive health care at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor headquarters Monday, saying there is a “clear and imminent” threat to women’s rights.
“It is simply about agreeing that a woman should be able to make a decision with her faith leader, with her family …,” Harris said at the start of the meeting. “And the government should not be making that decision.”
She also referenced the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft ruling which, if finalized, would overturn the federal abortion protections offered under Roe v Wade, and also discussed a Louisiana bill that would ban most abortions and criminalize doctors who perform them if the Supreme Court decision is finalized.
“So the threat to all of these principles and priorities is very clear and imminent,” Harris said.
The meeting included religious leaders including the Rev. Edgar Boyd, pastor of First AME Church in Los Angeles; Rabbi Dara Frimmer of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles; Sikh civil rights advocate and attorney Nitasha Kaur Sawhney; the Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco; and Pastor Demetries Edwards of the 23rd Avenue Church of God in Oakland.
Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, and Mayor Eric Garcetti were also among those present.
The meeting was billed by the White House as a discussion on protecting reproductive rights and “addressing the epidemic of hate that is gripping our nation.”
“I know that no matter the differences among us in society, there’s so much more in common than what separates us,” Harris said. “And I think most people, regardless of who they are would agree, we need faith in each other, in our nation, and in our future.”
Referencing a spate of gun violence nationally, Harris said “hate manifests itself in violent acts, most of which are committed with the use of guns.”
Following the meeting, Harris took a tour of the Summit of the Americas Civil Society Forum Initiatives Fair at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. She particularly stopped at three booths focused on women’s empowerment, democratic governance and women in government.
The events were Harris’ first public events since arriving at Los Angeles International Airport aboard Air Force 2 Friday afternoon.