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VP visits Albuquerque to campaign for governor, hold reproductive rights discussion

Gino Gutierrez
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Dr. Eve Espey, the chairwoman of UNM’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology served as moderators during the discussion with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Vice President Kamala Harris made a stop in Albuquerque on Tuesday to help campaign for Democratic incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is currently in a tight race with Republican challenger Mark Ronchetti.

While in the city, Harris held a discussion on reproductive rights at the University of New Mexico that was moderated by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Dr. Eve Espey, the chairwoman of UNM’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Reproductive rights and access to abortion has become a centralized issue in this election’s race for governor.

Ahead of the discussion, Lujan Grisham touted her efforts to ensure every individual has access to abortion, abortion care and contraception.

Gino Gutierrez
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham listens to Vice President Harris during the reproductive rights discussion

“Long before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and Dobbs, New Mexico and its incredible legislature made clear, by making sure we repealed New Mexico’s ban on abortion and I got to sign that repeal and for that, we are all forever grateful. Now since then, for those of you that may not know, New Mexico has signed any number and I’m leading that, executive orders to make sure that women and providers are safe from any prosecution, sharing of information, all services are protected and private in the state of New Mexico, because we are standing together to ensure access to women all across the country.”

Vice President Harris has been traveling all over the country this month to hold similar reproductive rights conversations in four previous states prior to coming to New Mexico.

During her trip, Harris said she’s encountered individuals who are fearful given the recent overturning of Roe v Wade and Dobbs and the possible prosecution both those seek abortions and abortion care providers might face, but praised the governor for her leadership and New Mexico for being a “safe haven” state.

“I want to recognize your leadership and the leadership in New Mexico. This is a safe haven for the surrounding states, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, what you are doing as a sanctuary, safe place for them.”

Harris said the U.S. Justice Department’s Reproductive Rights Task Force has also been working to help protect abortion care providers who are crossing state lines to conduct the procedure where it’s legal with free counsel.

The Vice President brought several “props” on stage with her as well, one that showed a color-coded map of the United States that depicted that patchwork of laws governing abortion in the different states, citing how confusing and ripe for misinformation and disinformation this is and another showing a vin diagram with states intersecting who have restrictions on voting, abortion access and LGBTQIA+ rights.

Their conversation also touched on significant disparities in mortality rates for Black and Indigenous individuals and postpartum Medicaid coverage.

In closing, Harris quoted civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, as a rallying cry to fight for personal rights.

Gino Gutierrez
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the audience about the importance of using their platforms to amplify their voices on issues like reproductive rights

“Coretta Scott King famously said the fight for civil rights, which is the fight for justice, which is the fight for equality, which is the fight for freedom. The fight for civil rights must be fought and won with each generation. Two points there. One it is the nature of it all that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So the second point then is, do not despair, do not throw up your hands when it's time to roll up our sleeves. It’s the nature of it, and we are up for it and when we fight, we win.”

To watch the full conversation with the Vice President, click here.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.