Report: Harris mobilizing pro-abortion forces ahead of 2024

May 14, 2023

Though Vice President Kamala Harris is viewed by many as a massive liability for President Joe Biden's 2024 reelection prospects, she is reportedly helping to mobilize an array of pro-abortion forces as part of a broader push to bolster Democrats in the coming electoral battles, according to Axios.

The push is part of a move to push Harris forward as the administration's point person in the fight against abortion limits and outright bans put in place in some Republican-led states following the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade last summer.

Harris to the fore

According to Axios, a source familiar with the situation said that on Wednesday, Harris held a meeting at her official residence with a cadre of high-profile abortion rights activists, labor leaders, and civil rights groups, and reproductive issues were reportedly atop the agenda.

Attendees were said to include leaders from Planned Parenthood, NARAL, EMILY's List, UltraViolet, the National Education Association, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The point of the gathering was apparently to brainstorm ways in which the groups could help the White House disseminate its pro-abortion stance among wider constituencies than just those already tied into Washington elites.

Another priority supposedly tackled at the meeting was the question of how to effectively focus voter interest on down-ballot contests, rather than keeping attention solely on the presidential contest.

High hopes from West Wing

The administration's decision to push Harris forward in this way is, according to Axios, evidence of the belief among insiders that she was effective in drawing attention to the abortion issue following last summer's Dobbs decision and in the months ahead of the midterm election – in which Democrats performed better than expected.

Indeed, the video presentation announcing Biden's re-election campaign provided some foreshadowing for this tactic, in that the president himself proclaimed that ''MAGA extremists” remain a continued danger in that they are “dictating what health care decisions women can make.”

The White House, for its part, has acknowledged its high hopes for what Harris can do for Biden's reelection prospects, with a senior official recently stating, according to NBC News, that “the vice president's team and the West Wing have worked collaboratively around her leadership on women's reproductive health care, her foreign policy leadership and other issues. She was a huge asset in the 2020 campaign, and West Wing advisers see her as a huge asset again.”

Jamie Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee said, “I know that the president sees the vice president as not only a historic leader, but a true partner to him, and she's really been at the forefront of a lot of the work that we've done politically. I really do believe that she's going to be at the forefront and a crucial component of the re-election process.”

Divided opposition

The Democrats' decision to propel Harris into the job of mobilizing pro-abortion constituencies may prove particularly savvy, given the state of turmoil within the Republican Party on the issue, with figures as prominent as former President Donald Trump already on record stating that hardline anti-abortion positions likely cost the GOP several key contests last fall, as The Hill noted at the time.

Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (SC) has expressed a similar position in recent weeks, as CBS News reports, imploring members of her party to arrive at a “middle ground” on abortion or face serious electoral headwinds.

“There's so much when it comes to protecting life and protecting woman that we can agree on in terms of gestational limits, that's something that can happen at the state and the federal level,” Mace said, further warning that stringent six-week bans – particularly if rape or incest is involved – are not “the way to change hearts and minds. It's not compassionate.”

Though Harris has never been known for her eloquence or a particularly effective communication style in her own right, the sort of highly-coordinated – likely well-funded – campaign to put the issue of abortion front and center again as 2024 approaches are not something Republicans should take lightly, given the undeniably polarizing effect it continues to have on the country.

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