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Vice President Kamala Harris, 2nd Gentleman Doug Emhoff make brief visit to Des Moines

The vice president met with local leaders to discuss reproductive healthcare.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Vice President Kamala Harris, along with her husband Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, visited Des Moines Thursday for the first time since taking office.

Harris met with local leaders at Grand View University to discuss the fight to protect reproductive rights.

The round table was the latest in a series of meetings Harris has held in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.  

Harris says in the months that followed that decision, many Americans have become confused, afraid and desperate when it comes to their own abortion access. 

"In many ways, people are feeling very alone, in terms of what are their options, and what are their rights since that decision came down from the court," Harris said.

Harris derided the federal challenge taking place in Texas that could stop the FDA approval and distribution of mifepristone, a key drug used in medical abortions. 

"We should all understand that these attacks go beyond reproductive health. And that is where we find ourselves at this moment in time in our country," Harris said. "We also know that Iowa's on the front line in this fight, not unlike the United States as a whole."

Harris also spoke against Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird joining attorneys general across the country in pushing for similar restrictions.

"There is an attorney general who has joined attorneys general around the country who are asking the court to overturn an FDA approved medication, mifepristone," Harris said. "There are attorneys general around the country, including here, who are attempting to tell pharmacies not to dispense abortion medication."

Harris claimed that data reflects 61 percent of Iowans don't support attacks on reproductive rights, which is supported by an October 2022 Iowa Poll

Abortion in Iowa remains legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights

However, the state of abortion policy in Iowa remains uncertain. In December, Gov. Kim Reynolds filed a motion to challenge a previous district court ruling blocking her fetal heartbeat bill. 

Harris' last-minute visit comes as several high-profile Republicans have swept their way through the state, including former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

President Joe Biden is expected to announce his reelection campaign sometime in the coming weeks. 

Harris' appearance in Iowa could signal efforts to remind Iowa voters that Democrats haven't forgotten Iowa, even with the loss of the Iowa Caucus

In addition to meeting with local leaders, Harris made time to watch her alma mater Howard University play in the NCAA Tournament against Kansas.

"You played hard, you played to the very last second. You made all us Bisons so, so proud," Harris said, according to a video posted by the official NCAA March Madness Twitter. "You hustled out there, you are smart, you are disciplined, you put everything you had into the game."

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