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In visit to Florida, Kamala Harris speaks out against the state's 15-week abortion ban

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with service members at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa on July 14, 2022.
U.S. Central Command
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Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with service members at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa on July 14, 2022.

Vice President Kamala Harris criticized Florida state leaders for passing a 15-week abortion ban while visiting the state on Thursday.

Harris' comments came during a roundtable at the Orlando Convention Center, and was the latest in a series of appearances across the country to speak in favor of women's reproductive rights.

Harris was joined by Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra along with several Democratic legislators, including State Representatives Fentrice Driskell, of Tampa, and Andrew Learned, of Brandon.

In a statement on her website, Harris said the Biden administration is committed to "protecting access to reproductive health care, including abortion access," and "applauded state legislators for their work defending abortion access in Florida."

A 15-week ban on abortion went into effect on July 1, and will remain so during an appeal process. A circuit court judge issued a temporary injunction last week, but a state appeal resulted in an automatic stay.

In a tweet Thursday, Orlando State Rep. Anna Eskamani urged Harris and Becerra to declare a national health emergency following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

According to Harris' statement, she "emphasized that the government should not interfere with the right of every American to make the most intimate decisions about 'heart and home' – including reproductive health care access. "

Later in the day, Harris spoke with service members at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and toured the U.S. Central Command's Joint Operations Center.

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Carl Lisciandrello is digital news editor of WUSF Public Media.