VP Harris advocates for abortion rights at LA protest

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris smiles at the audience on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall before she delivers a speech at the Women’s March Foundation’s protest for reproductive rights on April 15, 2023, in Los Angeles, Calif.

Quinn Alexander, Video Editor

With only a two days’ notice, over two hundred women, men and children joined the Women’s March Foundation to protest an attempted override of the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug Mifepristone.

People protesting in favor of abortion
A protester holds a sign in front of Los Angeles City Hall during the Women’s March Foundation’s protest for reproductive rights on April 15, 2023, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Quinn Alexander)

The protesters started at Pershing Square before marching through the streets of downtown Los Angeles towards City Hall. Some held signs, others led chants and dances, but all those in attendance carried themselves peacefully, inviting onlookers to join them in their march.

Under the blazing sun on the Saturday afternoon of April 15, the protesters cheered and clapped as LA Mayor Karen Bass walked on stage at the foot of City Hall. She greeted the crowd by reiterating California’s stance on abortion rights.

“We know in our state, a woman will always have the right to choose, and we went so far as to put it in our state constitution,” Bass said.

She explained how the court ruling would affect California by making Mifepristone illegal to take, despite Los Angeles being a safe haven county for abortion rights.

“We’re going to fight back, because we’re not going to allow that to happen,” Bass said. “We are fortunate in the United States because we have a president, and we have a vice president who understands that women should control their own bodies.”

Bass smiled broadly as she introduced the event’s keynote speaker. A collective gasp ran through the crowd as the building’s doors opened to reveal the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris. She spoke to the crowd about how the only way to stand up for their rights is to show up to protests and advocate for what they believe in.

“This is a critical point in our nation’s history,” Harris said, looking out at the crowd. “We are seeing around the country in a myriad of ways, those who would dare to attack fundamental rights and by extension, attack our democracy around our country, supposed so-called extremist leaders, who would dare to silence the voices of the people.”

She referenced the ruling to halt the approval of the abortion medication by Matthew Kacsmaryk, a U.S. district judge in Texas. The ruling claimed the FDA’s approval was inappropriate, and that the decision did not protect the safety of the drug’s users.

Mifepristone is, according to Bass, the most common method to terminate a pregnancy in the United States, and has a 99% safety record according to Planned Parenthood.

A girl holding a sign of "My body my rights"
A protester holds a sign on the steps of Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles during the Women’s March Foundation’s protest for reproductive rights on April 15, 2023, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Quinn Alexander)

The dispute over the drug was taken before the Supreme Court on April 21. The court ruled that Mifepristone will remain available and approved for safe use. The court froze Kacsmaryk’s ruling until the end of the appeal which will determine if the FDA’s initial approval of Mifepristone is overruled. The next hearing in the appeal process will consist of oral arguments for and against the drug. The hearing will take place in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on May 17.

The vice president said that fundamental rights are at stake and called upon the next generation of women to fight for freedom and liberty.

“When you attack the rights of women in America, you are attacking America,” Harris said to loud applause. “So to the young leaders here and around the world, and our men and everyone who was here. Let us know that we are strong when we are together.”