“It’s important that we highlight the impact on how this affects rights of Americans and their rights to privacy across so many different issues,” a White House official told CNN, which was first to report on the roundtable.
In the wake of the draft opinion’s leak, Harris has focused on the issue of privacy rights in an effort to explain the far-reaching implications Americans could face should the abortion ruling be overturned.
“I do believe that when we look at the challenge that we will face when that decision comes down, a part of it will be that it will directly, if not indirectly, impact other privacy rights, including the right to have access to contraception and the right to marry the person you love,” Harris said at a meeting with clergy members on abortion rights last week.
Holding these types of events has elevated Harris to a, if not the, lead messenger in the Biden administration on abortion rights. Despite the absence of a formal opinion, Harris has seized this moment to host public conversations with various players in the battle over abortion rights.
Last week, Harris held an event in Los Angeles with faith and clergy leaders to discuss the path forward on abortion rights. Days after the draft opinion leaked in May, Harris met with doctors and nurses whose work would be directly affected by the precedent-setting rulilng being overturned. And she delivered a blistering speech on the issue, asking fiercely at an Emily’s List gala: “How dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can do and not do with her own body?”
Tuesday’s event, an official told CNN, will draw on Harris’ ability to bring people from wide-ranging backgrounds together to work on specific issues.
“What’s important to keep in mind here is that some of the vice president’s goals really have been around ensuring that people in this country have an understanding of what is at stake here,” the official said. “And that does take some work in terms of building out who is the coalition of people that are affected by this, that are interested in having their voices be heard.”
Harris will meet with law professors Peggy Cooper Davis and Melissa Murray of New York University, Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law and Michele Bratcher Goodwin of the University of California-Irvine, among others.
An official warned that should Roe be overturned, other rights that could come up would be the underlying right to marry “someone that you love,” conversations around “access to your own data” and access to contraception. Those issue topics, they say, will be reflected by attendees at Tuesday’s roundtable.
Should that right be overturned, the Biden administration is looking for options on what it could do in response. Biden said last week that he was weighing executive actions he could take if the decision from the court reflects the leaked draft and strikes down Roe.
Options include making it easier for women to travel to receive abortions in states where the procedure is still legal or expanding access to medication abortion through the mail. Some advocates have also suggested leasing federal land for abortion clinics, bypassing state laws that restrict them.
But ultimately, Biden wants a solution to come through Congress.