HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: Harris Links Abortion and Voting Rights

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The Biden administration is drawing a link between states moving to outlaw abortion and those limiting voting rights.

That’s the pitch Vice President Kamala Harris made to an audience mostly of Black women at the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans over the weekend.

Overturning of Roe v. Wade “requires all of us to speak up,” she said. “At least 11 states are doing both at the same time.”

Voting rights legislation is stalled in Congress as Democrats lack Republican support to pass it in the evenly split Senate. It remains a key issue for Black voters, 87% of whom backed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

“We must be vigilant and we must remember we are always going to have to fight to maintain these rights,” Harris said. Akayla Gardner has more.

N.Y. Advances Constitutional Amendment Protecting Abortion: New York lawmakers on Friday took the first step toward codifying reproductive rights into the state’s constitution in response to the US Supreme Court’s abortion ruling.

The legislature passed a measure (S. 51002) to expand the list of classes protected by the state’s constitution. The broad equal rights language expands those classes to include women making decisions about pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive health care.

New York lawmakers passed legislation in 2019 to enshrine Roe’s protections and guarantee access to an abortion. But Democrats backing the amendment said adding the protections to the Constitution would provide additional safeguards. Read more from Keshia Clukey.


  • Biden faced pressure from Democratic governors like New York’s Kathy Hochul to consider providing abortions to the public on federal property in states that have barred the procedure—a proposal the White House has dismissed as untenable. “We’d ask that you’d consider your ability to use federal facilities,” Hochul told the president on Friday in a White House brainstorming session with other Democratic governors. Read more from Akayla Gardner.
  • Planned Parenthood of Montana is limiting abortion pills for some out-of-state residents due to the “rapidly changing” legal landscape now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. In an email to staff, CEO Martha Fuller said women from states with trigger bans, like South Dakota, Arkansas and Oklahoma, would no longer be able to receive the abortion pill at its facility. Read more from Kelsey Butler.
  • Mississippi is on track to block access to abortion pills by July 7 without the intervention of a federal court, according to attorneys trying to keep alive a generic mifepristone manufacturer’s legal battle against a state health official. Ian Lopez has the latest.
  • Ohio’s highest court denied an emergency motion from abortion providers on Friday, keeping in place the state’s law prohibiting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The two-sentence ruling means that Ohio’s “heartbeat bill” remains the legal standard, prohibiting abortions once doctors can detect fetal heart activity—something that occurs usually around six weeks of pregnancy. Read more from Alex Ebert.
  • A coalition of abortion providers asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court Friday to block enforcement of the state’s criminal abortion laws and to declare access to the procedure protected under the state’s constitution. Abortion has been completely unavailable in Oklahoma since May 25, when Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed into law two civil bans that were enforced through vigilante claims against anyone who performed the procedure. Laurel Calkins has more.
  • Abortion providers in safe haven states are grappling with how best to serve clients who may not speak fluent English. Some of those states, like Minnesota, have small Hispanic populations. Providing translators and ensuring Spanish forms are available will further strain the budgets of small women’s health clinics. But advocates say those steps will ensure every client can access treatment. Ayanna Alexander has more.


  • Rep. John Yarmuth said he was blindsided by the White House’s plan to nominate anti-abortion Republican Chad Meredith to a federal trial court seat in his state. The possibility of nominating Meredith stunned Yarmuth (D-Ky.) and others dissatisfied by the pace of Biden judicial nominations, and such a nomination in the wake of the death of Roe could also undermine support for Democrats among women, Madison Alder and Erik Wasson report.
  • Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and other Democrats in Georgia are looking to tap into outrage over a looming ban on abortion to attract suburban college-educated White women and men—a bloc of voters that could prove pivotal in the state’s high-stakes elections in November. Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who is seeking re-election, faces a rematch against Abrams, who Kemp narrowly beat four years ago. Brett Pulley and Margaret Newkirk have more.

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Suicide Hotline Needs State Help, HHS Says: The Biden administration’s national suicide hotline rollout will need state governments to play a strong hand to be a success, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on Friday. July 16 is the date the US National Suicide Prevention Hotline will begin its shift to its new 988 number. The idea is for the hotline to work like a 911 for suicide prevention and be accessible with texts and phone calls. Read more from Ian Lopez.

Bavarian Wins US Order for Monkeypox Shots: Bavarian, the only company with an approved vaccine specifically for monkeypox, won another order from the US government as the virus continues to spread. The Danish drugmaker will supply 2.5 million doses of Jynneos vaccine to US authorities in the last quarter of the year and in 2023, the Health and Human Services Department said Friday. Read more from Madison Muller and Christian Wienberg.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at; Michaela Ross at

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