VP Harris enlists Chrissy Teigen, ‘Married to Medicine’ stars to defend abortion rights

Vice President Kamala Harris convened reproductive rights advocates and professionals on Thursday for a moderated conversation with Chrissy Teigen ahead of the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that ended federal protections for abortion care.

Just days before reproductive health advocates mark the June 24 commemoration of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, Harris sat down with model and entrepreneur Teigen at the White House to discuss the unprecedented and controversial 2022 Supreme Court decision and its implications two years later. 

“The court of Thurgood Marshall and RBG [Ruth Bader Ginsberg] … took a fundamental freedom, which is the freedom of people to make decisions about their own bodies,” decried Harris, who also leaned into her historic role as America’s first female vice president to condemn states that have enacted abortion bans in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision and how it is impacting Americans across the country. 

“These laws that make no exception even for rape or incest … imagine what these extremists are suggesting, which is that someone who has survived a violation to their body has no right to make a decision about what happens to their body next,” said Harris. “That’s immoral.”

Harris also squarely placed the blame on former President Donald Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, calling the restrictions “Trump abortion bans.” Trump notably nominated three Supreme Court justices, granting conservative groups their wish of a right-wing majority on the court that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Teigen opened up about her own abortion, admitting that she felt “ignorant” to the fact that it was an abortion. She recalled lying in bed with her husband, singer-songwriter John Legend, who also attended Thursday’s event, as they discussed the Dobbs decision. 

“I was talking about it from a place of I feel so bad for … anyone who’s ever had to go through that, and they’re not able to make a choice of their own body, and he was like, ‘Well, you had an abortion,’” remembered Teigen. “I was like, what? I had no idea … I just assumed that I had miscarried.”

The model and advocate said the word “abortion” is often “so scary” and “so taboo to talk about.”

Also in attendance at Thursday’s moderated conversation were the cast of Bravo’s “Married to Medicine,” Dr. Jackie Walters, Dr. Simone Whitmore and Dr. Heavenly Kimes. TheGrio caught up with the reality TV stars outside the White House West Wing. 

“Married to Medicine” stars Dr. Jackie Walters, Dr. Simone Whitmore and Dr. Heavenly Kimes attended Thursday’s White House moderated talk with Vice President Kamala Harris and Chrissy Teigen. (Photo by Gerren Keith Gaynor/TheGrio)

Walters, an OBGYN, commended Teigen for sharing her personal story of abortion and “not knowing what was happening,” telling theGrio that it highlights the fact that many women may not know the “definition” of abortion is “the loss of a pregnancy less than 20 weeks.”  She said she and her castmates were inspired to “see how we can get involved and how we can be a part of the giving back in Georgia, which is one of the most dangerous states for women.”

The celebrity doctors said they were inspired to use their voices and platforms to raise the issue of voting ahead of the 2024 election as Harris and President Joe Biden seek reelection.

“The most important thing is just realizing how much our vote counts and the difference that voting makes,” said Whitmore.

“We all need to get more involved … You don’t realize how much the lack of voting impacts your women’s health and your women’s rights. I’m just blown away,” said Walters. “As OBGYNs, we see women all day … every day, and we keep saying we want to be a part of the change that we want to see.”

Kimes, a dentist, praised Harris for convening Thursday’s discussion, telling theGrio, “It’s amazing to see our vice president, the first Black woman, the first woman period, to really understand what women go through and take this on … I think that’s big.”

During her sit-down with Teigen, Harris said the “attack” on women and their access to reproductive and health care is something that should be concerning to everyone, as the conservative movement to ban abortion is part of a collective and intersectional attack on other marginalized groups, including Black and LGBTQ Americans. She particularly noted efforts by Republican lawmakers to enact book bans and said “the freedom to learn America’s full history” should be upheld.

People attend a May 2019 rally in Washington to mark the 65th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling that ended public school segregation. The court’s 2022 ruling on abortion is being marked this month. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

“I asked my team [to] show me where which states we’re seeing attacks on reproductive freedom, which states we’re seeing attacks on access to the ballot, where we’re seeing attacks on LGBTQ rights, and you all would not be shocked or surprised to know there was a huge intersection,” she stated. “These freedoms are intertwined.”

Harris continued, “In these moments, we should also see the intersections and, in that way, reinforce our commitment to coalition building and remind ourselves we are not alone.” 

Though millions of Americans remain concerned about the 21 states that have enacted some form of an abortion ban, the vice president encouraged the audience to channel their fears and frustrations through advocacy. 

“There’s so much about this that really has been intended to take power,” she said. “Our work and our activism and using your voice so courageously makes a difference. That always should give us a sense of hope and a sense of knowledge of our power.”

At the end of the talk, Teigen delivered a heartfelt message to her 8-year-old, Luna, about her own “power” as a young girl.

“I hope that you see all the incredible people, mainly women, in this room, and I hope that when you grow up, you want to fight for justice in the way that we do unapologetically without fear and know that your body is your own and nobody can take that away from you,” Teigen tearfully said. “I love you.”

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