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Vice President Harris meets with Utah Rep. Romero on abortion rights

Vice President Kamala Harris meet State Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City and other Latina state lawmakers on Friday to discuss the fight for abortion rights in their own states.

State of play: Harris has met with state lawmakers, health care providers and activists to discuss reproductive rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. It was his first meeting with Latina state lawmakers, Reporting by Marina E. Franco of Axios Latino.

  • The other six Latin lawmakers represented Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, New York and Texas.

What she says: “[Harris] really wanted to address abortion and access to abortion and its impact on the Latinx community,” Romero, president-elect of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, says Axios. “Even though we have a Republican-controlled legislature, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about issues that affect Utahns, like access to health care.”

  • Romero said she wants input from the federal government and other colleagues on what kinds of policies lawmakers can introduce in their own states to help women.

The context: Utah is one of 13 states with an abortion initiation law.

Why is this important: Hispanic women in Utah are ‘significantly less likely’ to access health care, says one analysis by the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University.

  • About 20% of Latinas in Utah say they don’t seek health care because of the cost.
  • Nationally, about a quarter of abortion patients are Hispanic women, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute.

Rollback: Utah’s abortion ban was suspended after the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah sued the state to stop it from going into effect.

The big picture: Democrats are using access to reproductive health care as a motivational issue for voters ahead of the midterm elections.

And after: Romero plans to sponsor a bill that would eliminate criminal penalties for health care providers who perform abortions.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion