Harris visits St. Paul for abortion roundtable, fundraiser

The vice president traveled to Metropolitan State University and Minneapolis during the day-long trip.


Image by Alex Steil

From left to right: Lt. Gov. Peggy Flangan, She Pivots podcast host Emily Tisch Sussman and Vice President Kamala Harris. The trio held a roundtable event on abortion rights at Metropolitan State University on Saturday.

by Alex Steil

Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Minnesota Saturday to hold a roundtable discussion on abortion rights, and later in the day attended a fundraising event with Gov. Tim Walz. This is Harris’ first trip to the state as vice president.

The round-table was held at Metropolitan State University and included introductory remarks from Attorney General Keith Ellison and two officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and She Pivots podcast host Emily Tisch Sussman moderated the discussion, asking Harris a slew of questions regarding abortion rights and the fragility of our democracy.

The pre-speakers for the event included Flanagan and Ellison, with the lieutenant governor giving a particularly emotional speech recalling the phone call she made to her mom after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“We knew it was going to come because of the leak,” said Harris, referring to a leaked draft of the decision by POLITICO in May. “But it was unimaginable.”

Harris was asked about the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify abortion rights. She frequently mentioned that abortion, in her view, is a constitutional right and should be put into law. However, the legislation has stalled in the Senate.

Two more U.S. senators need to support the act for the president to sign it into law, Harris said.

Since the leak, Harris has gone to 18 states to discuss abortion rights.

The moderators also asked about maternal health, which Harris was particularly passionate about. During her time as Senator, she introduced legislation aimed at reducing disparities in maternal health care, some of which include how Black women are three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, while Native women are twice as likely.

“One of the issues that we know is very present – it’s been well studied and documented – is racial bias. When she walks into the hospital or the clinic or the doctor’s office, she’s just not taken as seriously,” Harris said. “It has nothing to do with her socioeconomic level or status or her education.”

Fundraiser with Walz

Harris attended a fundraiser for Walz after the roundtable event. Taking the stage after Walz spoke, Harris touted achievements in her and President Joe Biden’s administration and highlighted Walz’s and Flanagan’s work in the state.

“It takes work and commitment to fund public education and to honor our teachers for the extraordinary lives that they have chosen to live that is about raising and helping us raise the next generation,” Harris said. “All of that work is happening in your statehouse because you have phenomenal leaders here. 

Scott Jensen, the Republican candidate running against Walz for governor, and the state GOP were opposed to Harris’ visit. Jensen even brought it up during last week’s debate. Jensen led Walz for the first time in a poll released Thursday.

“Gov. Walz is hosting a fundraiser with Vice President Harris, and in doing so, bringing his full support of the Biden Administration’s failed agenda front and center,” Jensen said. “Out-of-touch priorities like this are just another example of why our movement to heal Minnesota is so strong and growing.”