Vice President Kamala Harris to make first Iowa visit Thursday Since taking office for the abortion rights campaign, A White House official told CNN.
Harris will travel to Des Moines to hold a roundtable with local leaders to discuss the fight to protect reproductive rights.
The high-profile last-minute visit follows a flurry of activity by Republican presidential candidates who have come to early caucus states such as Former President and Current Candidate Donald Trump and potential 2024 Republican candidate Ron DeSantis. Republican politicians have begun courting caucus members who support individual political campaigns as the state plays its traditional role in the party’s 2024 nominating contest.
President Joe Biden, who is expected to run for re-election in 2024, is absent from the nation’s first caucuses after urging national Democrats to replace Iowa with South Carolina, a predominantly black state among Democratic voters , which prompted his nomination in 2020. The Democratic National Committee passed the president’s reforms last month, but the vice president’s visit to Iowa underscored that Democrats have no intention of abandoning the state entirely, despite its trend toward the Republican Party.
Harris’ trip will also come a day after a federal judge overseeing challenges to federal approval of the medical abortion drug will hold a hearing on the case. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, the vice president has become the main voice of the Biden administration on the issue, arguing that abortion is no longer a right enshrined in the federal constitution.
This week, she lashed out at attacks on medical abortion and warned that preventing doctors from prescribing mifepristone, the first drug in the process, could have wider repercussions.
“But if extremists and politicians can ignore FDA approval and take a drug off the shelves — in this case, an abortion drug — people have to ask: What’s next?” Harris said in a recent interview with said a news conference in local media and alliance media.
Since last year, Harris has hosted dozens of events on access to abortion care, meeting with activists and state lawmakers to discuss abortion rights in deep red states and swing states.
Recently, House Republicans in Iowa introduced a bill that would ban all abortions in the state, establishing that life begins at conception. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled last year that the state constitution does not protect abortion rights, clearing the way for the state’s Republican legislative majority to potentially enact stricter abortion measures.
This story has been updated with more details.