Readout of Vice President Kamala Harris’s Meeting with Health Care Providers, Students, Elected Officials, and Advocates in Chicago, IL

Yesterday in Chicago, Illinois, Vice President Kamala Harris convened a roundtable of health care providers, students, elected officials and reproductive health advocates to discuss reproductive health care and access to abortion following the fall of the Supreme Court Roe v. calf in Dobbs. The vice president’s visit followed a week of extreme action by congressional Republicans to further restrict women’s reproductive freedoms, including proposing a national ban on abortion and trying to restrict women’s access to medicines. At the state level, abortion bans went into effect in West Virginia and Indiana.

During the roundtable, the Vice President thanked participants for their work protecting reproductive rights in Illinois. She also commended her for her work in caring for women from across the country who are being denied the reproductive health care they need in their own states. Participants expressed concerns about the dangers of misinformation and shared stories of how Dobbs harms women’s health and safety. The healthcare providers discussed the impact of Dobbs on the healthcare workforce – complicating the training of the next generation of healthcare professionals and increasing concerns about the mental health and well-being of reproductive health providers. Attendees thanked the Vice President for the actions the Biden-Harris administration has taken to protect reproductive health care and access to abortion.

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The Vice President has brought together leaders from across the country who are on the front lines of fighting to protect a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions. Since May, the vice president has held more than 20 meetings to fight to protect reproductive rights. The Vice President has met with over 150 state legislators from 18 states and has also convened healthcare providers, constitutional law experts, faith leaders, attorney generals, disability rights leaders, higher education leaders, attorneys, and civil and reproductive rights.

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Speaking participants:

  1. Governor JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois
  2. Mayor Lightfoot (D-Chicago)
  3. Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL-07)
  4. Melanie Fontes, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  5. Megan Jeyifo, executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund
  6. Allison Cowett, Medical Director, Family Planning Associates
  7. Myra Bajwa, Student Organizer, Reproductive Freedom Project
  8. Diana Parker Kafka, executive director of the Midwest Access Coalition
  9. Jennifer Welch, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Illinois and Planned Parenthood Illinois Action
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