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Vice President Kamala Harris visits Phoenix to advocate for abortion rights

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Phoenix Friday as part of her nationwide Reproductive Freedoms Tour.

Harris since January has been visiting battleground states to highlight local challenges to abortion rights. Arizona was the fifth stop on the tour. Harris spoke to about 200 supporters at the South Mountain Community Center alongside Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Congressman Greg Stanton, and Angela Florez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona. 

Abortion is legal up to 15 weeks in Arizona, but Harris pointed out the state’s  Supreme Court is currently weighing whether a near-total abortion ban dating to 1864 should go back into effect.

"1864, before women had the right to vote, before women could own property, before Arizona was even admitted as a state," Harris said. "Look, these extremists, they’re trying to take women back to the 1800s, but we’re not going to let them."

Harris said abortion rights voter initiatives have been successful in several other states in the year and a half since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Reproductive rights groups in Arizona are gathering signatures in hopes of putting a measure on ballots to enshrine abortion access in the state constitution.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the location where Vice President Harris spoke.

Get more Arizona abortion news

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.