HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Vice President Kamala Harris sat down with Virginia lawmakers in Henrico County Saturday to discuss the fight for reproductive rights on both the local and national front.
“We are so glad to have the Vice President here," State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) said. "To listen to not only what we are doing here in Virginia so that we can hear what she and President Biden are doing to help protect access to reproductive healthcare.”
The vice president's visit comes weeks after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark case, Roe v. Wade.
"Only weeks ago the United States Supreme Court took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the American people... in particular from the women of America," Harris said.
Several state legislators in attendance agreed with Harris and shared personal stories.
“As a child I was a victim of sexual assault and incest... I cannot even begin to imagine if I had been forced to have a child at an early age," State Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) said.
"I am one generation out of the sharecropping fields of Virginia and part of the first generation of women in my family to make decision for my body," shared Del. Candi Mundon King (D-Prince William).
Those words of criticism towards Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin also crossed the room.
”I’ve read that he says he will gleefully sign a law to take away reproductive rights," Harris said. "So I would also like to be clear that I am fully aware of the context in which we meet in terms of what this will mean for the people of Virginia and what is at stake directly."
In response to the topic of her visit, a spokesperson for the governor offered this comment.
“Governor Youngkin has tasked four legislators to bring together key stakeholders and find areas where Virginians can agree and chart the most successful path forward. The governor welcomes discussion and bipartisan collaboration, making it known that he would support a 15 week proposal. While the governor appreciates the Vice President’s visit, he will continue to engage with Virginians and legislators on this important matter," a spokesperson for Youngkin wrote.
It is a topic State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) feels should be left up to states to decide.
“She's got plenty to do between now and January. And I invite her to talk about those issues that are most important to Virginians right now. And that's inflation,” Chase said.
In regard to changing filibuster rules in the senate to ensure certain abortion rights, Rep. Donald McEachin, who represents Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, expressed why he felt it was important to adjust when necessary.
"You don't want to do away with it, fine, but the least we can do is say the filibuster rule shall not apply when we are talking about a person's civil rights," McEachin said.
Harris said she and the president "could not agree more."
"Joe Biden has been very clear that he will not let the filibuster stand in the way on the issue of women's health," Harris said. "You don't have to abandon your faith or your beliefs to agree that the government should not be making that decision for that woman."
Abortion remains legal in Virginia and the next time that would be possible to change is at the next Virginia General Assembly session in January 2023.