Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

3:54 P.M. EDT


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.  (Applause.) 
 
MS. BUSH:  Well, having one of those “how did I get here?” moments.  I think all-girls school really began the confidence required to come up here and interview two incredible women such as yourselves. 
 
And I want to thank you on behalf of citizens who care about civics for your taking the time today.  And I’m assuming everyone here are also citizens who care about civics.  So thank you all so much for coming.  (Applause.)
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.
 
MS. BUSH:  This is a razor’s edge moment in our country.  It is such an incredible, tenuous moment in this fight for our rights — rights that we have long considered to be settled law.  And I am — I’m very curious how, with the plethora of issues, Madam Vice President, that you face and the administration every day — how have you dedicated so much time to championing this issue?  And why does it matter to you so much?
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me start by saying, Sophia, Congressmember, thank you for your leadership.  I have to say that this member of Congress — I have seen her in the halls of Congress, I have seen her in rooms when the camera is off and when they are on, and she is always a fighter, always leading.  (Applause.)  And, really, you are a national leader, as well as the leader of your district. 
 
So I’m honored and just very happy to share the stage with both of you.  Sophia, you’ve used your voice in such a courageous way and your platform in a way that has always been about uplifting people.  And I appreciate and thank you for that.
 
So how do I come at this issue?  Well, let’s start with — from childhood.  So, you see, I was raised — my sister and I were raised by a mother who had two goals in her life: to raise her two daughters and to end breast cancer.  My mother was a breast cancer researcher, and she was one of the very few women as a scientist and certainly one of the fewest women of color. 
 
And she would come home at night — you know, I remember vividly — very upset sometimes about how women were being treated in the healthcare system.  She was always speaking up and fighting for the dignity of women in the healthcare system and, in particular, as it relates to reproductive health.
 
I mean, a word — a phrase that was often spoken at the dinner table from my childhood on was “mammary gland.”  (Laughs.)  My mother would talk about mammary glands.  She would talk about hormones.  She would talk about reproductive healthcare, about how women should be treated in a way that gives them not only a dignity that they rightly are due, but also information so that they can exercise self-determination in the system.  And so that’s — you know, so, from the earliest stage. 
 
And then the majority of my career before joining the Senate was as a prosecutor.  And when I was a courtroom prosecutor, my specialty throughout those years was on crimes affecting women and children, and crimes of violence.  In fact, I specialized in some of the most horrible cases that you can imagine. 
 
And — and again, it was always about fighting for the dignity, the safety, and the wellbeing of women in so many of those circumstances. 
 
But to your point, I mean, look where we are.  The highest court in our land, the United States Supreme Court, just took a constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America, from the women of America. 
 
And, you know, on this subject, I think it’s important to note that one does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be making this decision for her.  (Applause.)
 
But what we are now seeing as a result of the Dobbs decision are laws that are being proposed and passed around our country that would criminalize healthcare providers — literally doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers — send them to jail. 
 
You know, as a practicing attorney, what the consequence of that is, both in terms of, I think, the intent to intimidate and instill fear in these healthcare professionals, much less the intent to punish them. 
 
What is happening with no exception for rape or incest — and again, I go back to my professional career — you’re talking about individuals who, in those cases, have experienced the worst kind of act of violence and violation to their body. 
 
And then, these extremist so-called leaders would dare to say and suggest that that individual, furthermore, will not have the right to make decisions about what comes next as it relates to their body. 
 
This is immoral.  It’s unconscionable.  (Applause.)
 
And they walk around and want to be hailed as leaders of their whatever?  (Laughter.)  That’s not what a leader does.  That’s not what a leader does, not what a true leader does.  (Applause.)
 
So this — this issue, it — it really does relate to a lot of work that I’ve done in the past.  And I feel a great sense of commitment, as do we all, to stand up and speak out about it. 
 
MS. BUSH:  And not only does Roe falling threaten our bodily autonomy, but it threatens every other right that has been considered settled law under our 14th Amendment right to liberty. 
 
We are now seeing attacks on access to contraception.  Ninety-six percent of Republicans just voted against it.  So they don’t want us to be able to not get pregnant, and they also want us to stay pregnant.  Interesting. 
 
We see attacks on marriage.  We see attacks on — on our right to privacy. 
 
And so, the alarm bells are ringing as — as we are watching this snowball of disaster happen. 
 
 I know that sometimes, as a person who does not hold an elected office, it feels deeply stressful.  Thus, we all have to vote.  We have 11 days. 
 
But for the two of you — (applause) — I’m so inspired by the ways I see you activating.  I mean, Representative Scanlon, it was just this past July in Philadelphia you hosted a meeting with state legislatures.  You — you convine- — you convened —
 
Pardon me.  I’m so nervous, you guys.  I’m up here with the Vice President of the — what is happening?  (Laughter.)  Okay, I’m going to take a deep breath.  Everything is going to be fine. 
 
You convened a meeting. 
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  (Inaudible) Vice President.
 
MS. BUSH:  You convened a meeting.  You attended the meeting.  See, I’m — I’m losing my mind.  (Laughter.)
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  We were both there together.  (Laughs.)
 
MS. BUSH:  The point is: You ladies said, “This is insane.”  And you convened this great big meeting.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.
 
MS. BUSH:  And I’m — I’m curious about, you know, how do you determine where you’re going to convene a meeting, who you’re going to call.  And how does the actions you take, like gathering groups around the nation — how does that sort of stack up in this nationwide effort to protect our reproductive rights?
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  So, the congresswoman was a great leader on this issue in Congress but also here in this state, and was part of the leadership of that convening that you’re referring to. 
 
And what I’ve been doing is traveling the country in so-called blue states and so-called red states to convene state legislators and talk about what we will do to support them.
 
Because, you see, now with the Dobbs decision, it really has been moved to the states in so many ways.  It’s explicit. 
 
And, in fact, to your point about the irony of it all and the hypocrisy — so, the proponents of Dobbs talk about, “Well, you know, this is something that should just go to the states to decide.” 
 
But those very same people — so many of them are the same ones who, in the states, are restricting voting rights and making it more difficult to vote in the states.  Check that out.  (Applause.)  Check that out. 
 
And — but it is now falling on state leaders, local leaders — Governor Wolf is doing an incredible job here — do — to do the work of standing and taking a principled stand to ensure that these rights will be protected at a state level, even where there’s been a failure to protect them through the United States Supreme Court. 
 
And to your point, when you read the Dobbs decision and concurring opinions, you will see that Justice Clarence Thomas said the quiet part out loud.  To your point, Sophia, he said now at risk is the right to contraception; now at risk is right to marry the person you love. 
 
But here’s what I say on this: Let’s take back the flag.  Because this is about freedom and liberty.  Let’s take back the flag on this.  (Applause.)
 
We are talking about founding principles — one could say first principles: freedom and liberty.  And so, on this point, then, it will take all good people who recognize the importance of these founding principles to stand and fight for them. 
 
But because of the decision and until we are able to pass legislation through the United States Congress — and let’s talk about that — until that happens, it’s going to be incumbent on the state leaders to hold ground. 
 
And I’m going to tell you that, here in this state, they are showing, in Pennsylvania, such incredible courage against extraordinary odds. 
 
The General Assembly is trying to make a constitutional amendment — and I’ll let the congressmember speak about it — that has to be — we have to defend against it. 
 
And why don’t you explain what’s happening here?
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  Sure.  Well, that’s why it was so important that the Vice President came in, in early July, because it was Fourth of July weekend that the Republican House and Republican Senate pra- — well, virtually in the middle of the night, they had to change the rules of the body in order to pass the laws. 
 
They passed amendments setting the stage to have a constitutional amendment to ban abortion in Pennsylvania and to ban funding for abortion in Pennsylvania. 
 
So, that’s something that Governor — that Governor Wolf and hopefully soon-to-be Governor Shapiro can’t veto.  (Applause.)
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s right. 
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  So, that’s why our state-level elections have become so very important. 
 
And you heard from one of our — hopefully our next Speaker of the House, Joanna McClinton, just a few minutes ago.  (Applause.)
 
We have amazing representatives, particularly from this region, in the House and in the Senate.  But unless they have the majority, there’s nothing they can do to defeat these kinds of really destructive amendments.
 
And there was one that would ban abortion.  There’s another one that would make it more difficult to vote, particularly for students, because it requires a certain kind of ID in order to vote.
 
So, there’s a lot going on at the state level, and it was really wonderful for the Vice President to come to meet with our state legislators, meet with the congressional delegation, and really try to brainstorm how we can push back on this collectively at the state level, at the federal level.  So, we were really grateful for that.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And it was a — it was a wonderful meeting.  You know, part of what you’ll remember that we talked about was — so, I’ll — okay, so I’ll back up.
 
I love Venn diagrams.  (Laughter.)  I really do.  I love Venn diagrams.  It’s just something about those three circles and the analysis about where there is the intersection, right?  Yeah, I see people — you agree with me, right?
 
So — okay, so I asked my team — I brought props.  (Laughter.)  So, I asked my team.  I said, “Tell me from which states are we seeing attacks on women’s reproductive healthcare, attacks on voting rights, and attacks on LGBTQ+ rights.”  And you would not be surprised to know that there was quite an overlap, including, of course — yes, you predicted — Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Arizona.  Okay?
 
 So this then tells us, you know, something might be afoot here.  But what it also tells us is there is an incredible capacity to renew our commitment to coalition-building — to bringing together all the folks who have been fighting on voting rights, all the folks who have been fighting on LGBTQ rights, whether it be for marriage equality and now for trans rights, and so many others; the folks who’ve been fighting for — there was mention here about maternal health as well as reproductive healthcare.  Bringing everybody together in this movement.
 
Because here’s the thing: There was a movement that was started by people generations ago that culminated in Roe v. Wade.  It is now incumbent on us, who are under this roof together right now, to pick that movement up and to carry it forward. 
 
And when we think about the history of the greatest movements in our country that were about progress — progress being defined as an expansion of rights, not a restriction of rights — the greatest movements that have been about that kind of progress, the key ingredient has been the coalition that was built around those movements.
 
So, when I think about it, and what — this is what we talked about with the legislators in Pennsylvania — is because at that table — and there were so many leaders there who represent, in their history of work and in their constituencies, all these groups and — or a collection of them. 
 
And let’s see the power that we have right now to empower folks who right now are being made to — to lose their rights or to have to fight for their rights.  Well, then let’s fight together.  I strongly believe nobody should be made to fight alone.  (Applause.)
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  And the other power of that and the movement of working together is, when we’re facing such division —
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  — and pitting of people against each other, creating chaos as opposed to community —
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  — you know, moving towards the beloved community where everyone has access and opportunity is much more powerful.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.  That’s right.
 
MS. BUSH:  And it isn’t lost on any of us that this rhetoric that you speak about, this division — we’re witnessing half of our political system, if not more, create chaos by othering.  We’re seeing rhetoric across the country that reminds us of what led to World War Two.  We’re seeing the demonization of women and doctors and people who need care.  We’re seeing attacks on the LGBTQ community and our trans communities. 
 
And what I think when you speak about coalition-building, the thing I try to remember is that if they’re pushing us into this space where they want us to look at each other as other, where they want us to be triggered by the fear of scarcity, the fear of “not enough-ness,” all we have to remember — for those of us who love math and Venn diagrams; I love that about you — is that we have data on our side now that we didn’t have 100 years ago. 
 
We know, if we just pick one of these issues, if we could create pay parity simply on the gender line — if we snapped our fingers and women were paid what men are paid in this country — and this is data from 2018, so it might be better now — our GDP would increase by 12 points.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Oh, yeah.
 
MS. BUSH:  So we’re not fighting over the pieces of the pie.  If we create equity, the pie gets bigger.  We all do better.  Our liberty is bound together.  (Applause.)
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.
 
MS. BUSH:  If we protect the rights of vulnerable groups, each of us in our own vulnerabilities is better protected.  And that is something I think the administration has been doing a very incredible job at continuing to highlight and repeat across all of these issues. 
 
And I’m curious how, as you travel to states and take part in meetings like this and see what people are doing to fight back — how do you look at, within the Biden-Harris administration, the — this sort of umbrella of the whole nation and figure out how to fight back? 
 
Because there’s a whole lot of states, and we are a mess.  So — so how does the administration really figure out both the specific state-by-state action and the, kind of, national policy?
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, so we can talk about, in the broader issue, how do we address some of the inequities that you have rightly point out — pointed out.  And — and equity is one of the principles by which we have approached all of our work.
 
And, you know, and let’s be clear: What does equity mean, right?  Equity is — it understand — it’s different from equality, right?  Equity is about understanding not everybody starts out on the same base, right? 
 
Equal would mean everyone gets the same amount.  Well, but if everyone doesn’t start out in the same base, the inequities are still going to exist, right?  And, you know, if you just give equal — you have to recognize the inequities and then — and then give people an equal opportunity to compete.
 
So we have done a lot of work that has been, for example, about — you know, we got some political criticism for it, but we are willing to take it — student loan debt relief.  Right?  (Applause.) 
 
And $10,000 and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.  We have been focused on what we need to do to support the children of our nation and understand, to do that — to do that effectively, we have to look at the children in the context of the families in which they are being raised and support those families also.  And so, we have extended the Child Tax Credit — which, by the way, in the first year, reduced child poverty in America by over 40 percent.  (Applause.)  Right?
 
We have said that we need to help people parent children, and so — because it is expensive and folks need help.  And so, for working families, we created a tax cut for the expenses of raising a child.  People will get up to 8,000 more dollars to help with the cost of food and medicine and school supplies.
 
We say, “Hey, the issue of diabetes is a big issue in our country.”  Do you know that African Americans are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, Latinos are 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes?  And do you know that across our country, there are seniors, for example, that are making a decision about whether they will fill their prescription for insulin, which will save their life, or buy food or pay rent?  And so, we have capped now the cost of insulin at $35 a month.  (Applause.) 
 
And we’ve said, “Hey, by the way, the pharmaceutical companies have been getting away with jacking up prices on prescription medication for far too long.”  And we have been the ones who have said, “Nope, we’re going to let Medicare negotiate against the pharmaceutical companies for 60 million people to bring down the cost of prescription medication.”  (Applause.)
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  And that’s — I mean, already, just talking to constituents here, the caps on prescription drugs are so, so powerful.  Also, the $2,000-a-year cap —
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Right.
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  — for seniors.  I mean, just talking to a couple who have, you know, well over that in expenses, it’s going to make a big difference in their lives.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  It will.  And so, this is about policies that are about recognizing just what is, you know, in the interest of basic fairness and also then recognizing that when it comes to basic rights, like the right to have healthcare, it should not be a function of how much money you have.  It should be a right and not a privilege just for those who can afford it.  (Applause.)
 
And it’s powerful to see how all of that work you are doing about helping to level the playing field for everyone across the nation all comes back and ties into this issue of Roe.  It comes back and ties into an issue of healthcare.  It comes back to the point, you know, as we see somebody who is running in this state currently — I’m not here to be rude, but I’d like to be —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You can state facts —

MS. BUSH:  — who is saying —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — even though it’s not a political event.

MS. BUSH:  Exactly, it’s not a political event —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Just state facts.

MS. BUSH:  — but when someone says healthcare decisions should be between a woman, her doctor, and local elected officials —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Right.

MS. BUSH:  — rather than just a woman, her doctor, period —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You know, when you said that, it makes me imagine — (laughter) — being in, like, your OB’s office.  And there you are with your doctor, and then in the chair over there is your local politician.

MS. BUSH:  Yeah, that’s a hard pass for me.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Is that what we’re — that’s — like, you can’t undo that image — can you? — once you’ve seen it?

MS. BUSH:  No.  No.  (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  (Laughs.)  It’s just —

REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  Thank you so much.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You’re welcome.  (Laughter.)

MS. BUSH:  Yeah, it feels like not the vibe.  Just personal opinion.

But I — I think about the stories you all hear.  You know, you’re traveling the country, you are meeting with constituents from all over the state.  And I imagine that — that since Dobbs, you must be hearing from women and families who are going through things that are unspeakable.

And — and I — I wonder how you carry their stories, you know, into your office.  I wonder how you carry those stories into the White House.  These are the people who we are trying to advocate for, right?  So how does that affect you personally as you go out to lead?

REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  I mean, it’s — it’s complicated.  Because on the one hand, these stories are very, very personal.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  That’s the whole point.  It’s nobody else’s business.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.

REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  But in telling the stories — and I think we heard some in the introductory speeches as well — in telling the stories, it helps people understand why these absolute bans, why these radical changes are so important, and why it’s so important that we fight back.

I know you’ve been talking to people across the country about it.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, I have.  And I will tell you, there’s a lot of fear in our country right now.  And, in fact — prop number two — I only have two.  (Laughter.)  But it actually is quite serious as an issue.

So here’s a map of the United States.  And the colors here represent the different laws or the state of affairs in each of the states.

So one of these colors is abortion banned from conception with no exceptions.  One is banned from conception with an exception for rape or incest.  There’s another that is — let’s see — a six-week ban.  There’s a 15-week ban.  There’s an 18-week ban.  There’s a tw- — you see what I’m saying.

This is the map of the United States, in terms of the state of affairs right now, which tells us a lot of people are really confused.  And what I know happens when folks are confused is it is then an environment that is ripe for misinformation, disinformation, and predatory behaviors.

So one of the reasons that what we are doing this afternoon is important is to uplift and then send out accurate information about the rights that people have and where they can go for help.  Because there’s another issue that is very much at play here that I think has to also be spoken, which is the longstanding judgment associated with women’s sexuality.  So, understand that.  (Applause.)  Understand that, right?

So what is happening is that in this environment, there — it’s also thick with judgment, which has the effect of making the individual feel embarrassed or is meant to shame her, but certainly will make her feel alone, which is one of the — the greatest tools that anyone has when they want to take someone’s power.

So we’re looking at a situation where there are people all over our country who right now are feeling very alone, very confused, and, in that way, feeling helpless.  And that is another piece of this that is so insidious about what is happening right now in our country.

And it is why, especially to the students who are here, I ask you to please use all of the creative ways that you have to communicate with large numbers of people, to remind people they are not alone, to remind people they are not being judged, to remind them that we stand with them and that there is so much support for them.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We do not stand with them if we use language that is just focused around women.  Abortion affects more than just people who have been — who identify with the gender of a woman.  And I think it’s very telling that we have been using “women” as the language here.

So I’m going to do — I am a student here.  This is a historically women’s college; this is not a women’s college.  We have folks here who are affected by — by the overturning of Roe v. Wade who do not identify as women.  So why don’t we start there, with changing our language and making it more inclusive, because I would love to see that.  (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  We need to always be inclusive, and I couldn’t agree with you more.  And thank you for standing up.

REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  There was —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  So — but back to the point I was making, in addition to the point that was just made: We have to recognize all of the layers of what is happening right now.  Because there are very powerful forces in our country who are using the bully pulpit they have to make people afraid, to make people feel small, and literally to criminalize and punish people for exercising self-determination.  And so, this is a moment for all good people to stand and speak.

MS. BUSH.  Absolutely.  I find it really telling as well, you know, you see the way that — to your point about language and the way that we speak about our issues as a community — you see the way that people attack our friends who, in terms of numbers, they consider to be on the margins.  They go after the LGBTQ community.  They go after our trans communities.  They come after women who identify with that word and folks who identify as non-binary and all of the ways in which any of us might personally identify.

And it isn’t lost on me that they run these coordinated campaigns to make us feel alone.  I found a really interesting thing, penning the op-ed that we spoke about backstage, about my experience as a person who does identify in the way that I do, the experience of women friends and also pregnant people that I know.

And I watched this swift concerted backlash from the Right.  And I knew many of them were bots, like we all know what Twitter is.  And Elon just took over, and it’s only going to get worse.  But the number of bots that came for me saying, “How dare you take away my experience as a woman.”

And I — I got online and I said to these people, I said, “So my saying ‘women and pregnant people,’ rather than activating you, for everyone who isn’t — like a rich cis white man in our country — rather than activating you for the Venn diagram of our communities, you want to yell at me that I’ve somehow challenged the way you, who I don’t know, identify in your own life and your own home?”

And it is not lost on me.  You’re right.  We need to get better at just because we’ve said something —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  How can you say you support the trans and LGBT community when (inaudible) —

MS. BUSH:  Right.  But what I’m saying is we need to get better at making sure we haven’t just said it once today.  We need to make sure we’re saying it all the time today — fully own that that’s my bad; we were having this conversation backstage.

But I also — not “but” — and I also think it is so incredibly important for us, to your point, to remember that we have to be a constant drumbeat of who we are in these intersection- — intersecting groups so that we do coalition build, so that we don’t feed into their narratives, into their otherness, into their scarcity.  (Applause.)

And it is — it has to be a constant project, because they are coming at us constantly and in every way and with every, as you said, piece of disinformation, propaganda — just, like, the onslaught is a lot. 
 
And so, it’s why I glean inspiration from the ways we can remind each other, advocate for each other, and be in spaces like this and be reminded that this Roe fight is a central issue and that it touches all of these other issues of equity protections, healthcare for all of us. 
 
So, I thank you for the reminder.  I thank you for the reminder.  (Applause.)
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  And just to go back to your diagram here and how the connectedness of this impacts us.  On your map of the states, Pennsylvania has got kind of a nice light blue there. 
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  So, it’s not as bad as some of the worst states.  We’ve still got access to abortion care in Pennsylvania, but we’re already seeing that as these bans go into other states, that it’s putting pressure on the care that’s available here because there are only so many resources.  There is a scarcity problem. 
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah. 
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  We saw it when Texas went into effect earlier this year.  All of a sudden, it’s hard to get an appointment in Oklahoma or California.
 
MS. BUSH:  We’re experiencing that a lot in California right now.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  So, while right now, you know, we’re okay in Pennsylvania, it’s still, you know, probably not as easy to get abortion care as we would like it to be.  It’s still under threat from what’s going on nationally.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s right.  And so, I am a Californian, and I was just there with our state legislators.  And California — Washington State is doing some great work. 
 
But there — we have a — probably a dozen states that are safe harbors for their neighboring states.  And, you know, part of the challenge that we have is — you know, with the Hyde Amendment — is what we can do in terms of federal dollars supporting states that need the extra help because they are a beacon for folks in neighboring states. 
 
And this is yet another reason to pay attention to these next 11 days, because the decisions that are going to be made in the next 11 days are going to have long-lasting impact on this issue.
 
When you’re looking at the United States Congress: On the House side, people will be elected for two years; on the Senate side, six years.  That is a very long time in the life of someone who has everything at risk on this issue. 
 
And I see that we’re getting close to ending, and I just want to say one other point before we do.  As Vice President, I have now met with over 100 world leaders: presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings. 
 
And the thing about the United States is that when we walk in those rooms, we historically have walked in those rooms, chin up, shoulders back, representing the greatest democracy in the world, flawed though we may be.  But it gives us the authority to walk in those rooms, and then talk about the rule of law, talk about human rights. 
 
But the thing about being a role model is this: People watch what you do to see if it lines up with what you say.  And my greatest fear is, on this point, that dictators and autocrats around the world will then look at the people uprising and standing up for their rights in their countries, and will say to them, “You know, you want to keep holding out the United States as a model for what should be done?  Well, look what they’re doing.” 
 
So, understand, by extension, what is happening in our country will invariably affect people around the world. 
 
And back to the point about the next 11 days.  The point there is: Our President, Joe Biden, has been very clear — and this is a fact, not a political statement; it’s just a fact — if we hold on to the United States Senate and gain two more senators, he will not let the filibuster get in the way of passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.  (Applause.)
 
The effect of passing that will be to render null these laws that are being passed in states that are criminalizing and punishing people.  It will render them null.  No exception for rape or incest — will render them null.  Two more Senate seats. 
 
Well, one of the pickup seats is right here in this state.  (Applause.)  The other thing that the President has said that he will do and not let the filibuster get in the way, if we have two — hold on to the Senate and two more Senate seats, is he will pass and sign into law the John Lewis Freedom to Vote Act.  (Applause.) 
 
Two more Senate seats, and 11 days to go.  And 11 days to go.  So the clock is ticking.
 
MS. BUSH:  So, we have — we have a lot of young people here.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.
 
MS. BUSH:  They are extremely smart. 
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.
 
MS. BUSH:  What’s your message to them?  What can they do?  They’re eager to mobilize.
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Do — do what you’re already doing.  I know who this college is.  I know who you are.  This is a roomful of leaders. 
 
And, again, when we look at all the greatest movements — I mean my — my parents met when they were students active in Civil Rights Movement.  I grew up surrounded by folks who were marching and shouting for justice.  I would not be Vice President of the United States were it not for those movements.  (Applause.)  So, I’m clear about that. 
 
So do what you do.  You know how to do it.  And do it knowing that we need you.  We’re not only counting on you; we really need you. 
 
The best movements in our country that have been about the expansion of rights, in my opinion, have been led by students and certainly fueled by students.  So, do what you do.  And I thank you.  That’s why I’m here to thank you.  (Applause.)
 
MS. BUSH:  Well, it feels like a wonderful time to remind everyone: The election does not start in 11 days.  The election ends in 11 days. 
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.
 
MS. BUSH:  We can all do more, whether it’s five more phone calls, getting out for one more day of door knocking.  And, you’re right, advocating to make sure that we get those two more seats because that will change everything. 
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, that’s right. 
 
MS. BUSH:  Thank you. 
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you. 
 
REPRESENTATIVE SCANLON:  Thank you.  (Applause.)
 
MS. BUSH:  Thank you so much.
 
                          END                 4:34 P.M. EDT
 

The post Remarks by Vice President Harris in a Moderated Conversation on Protecting Reproductive<span class=”dewidow”> </span>Rights appeared first on The White House.

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