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Kamala Harris holds closed door meeting with local leaders about abortion rights

It would be hard to say exactly what Vice President Kamala Harris was doing in Boston.

She didn’t announce any new policy or take questions from the press, whom her staff had arrive in Dorchester at the IBEW’s Freeport Street building three and a half hours before the vice president was to speak Thursday.

When reporters were eventually ushered into a conference room just after 1 p.m., Harris sat flanked by dozens of politicians and community activists.

The press listened to lawmakers and community leaders praise her accomplishments and demand protection for abortion care for about 20 minutes before being ushered back out of the room.

The event was billed as a chance for Harris to hold a roundtable discussion with state lawmakers and leaders in healthcare on the steps the Biden-Harris administration is taking to protect access to reproductive care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that held the right to abortion was constitutionally protected.

On Wednesday, President Biden signed an order protecting the right of women to travel outside their home states to seek reproductive care. The White House announced the executive order, the second Biden has issued regarding reproductive rights since the high court’s decision, Thursday morning.

“Yesterday, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Securing Access to Reproductive and Other Healthcare Services, building on actions that the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to protect access to reproductive healthcare services and defend women’s fundamental rights,” the White House said in a release.

Harris may have touted that plan or another with local leaders after letting Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, state House Speaker Pro Tempore Kate Hogan — even Undersecretary of Defense Gil Cisneros, among others — tell her about the broken glass ceilings she represented, but the steps the administration might take to protect reproductive rights were apparently not fit for discussion in front of the public or the press.

The Republican Party’s National Committee seemed to predict this sort of outcome.

“Massachusetts is being hit hard by the recession, but you can bet Kamala Harris won’t talk about that. She may give it a laugh, but for voters, this incredible failure by Biden and Harris is no laughing matter,” RNC spokesperson Rachel Lee said in a release.

Reproductive healthcare provider Planned Parenthood, at the very least, says the Biden administration’s executive orders are moving in step with the opinion of the American public.

“As we saw in Kansas last night, people overwhelmingly support reproductive rights and demand the freedom to make their own health care decisions. This executive order from the Biden administration will include provisions advocates for abortion access have called for and is part of the critical work that the administration continues to undertake to bolster abortion access and support people getting the health care they need,” the group said in a statement.

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